The Public Eye: The Trash Talk Express

By Bob Burnett
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:18:00 PM

Once upon a time, John McCain merited his reputation as a maverick politician, a “truth teller.” Reporters fought to get on his campaign bus, “the straight talk express,” because they expected to hear the Arizona senator spew uncensored opinions on a variety of subjects. Alas, those days are over. Three months from the presidential election, McCain has decided his only hope of besting Barack Obama is to wage a negative campaign. Get on board the trash talk express. -more-

UnderCurrents: Which Campaign Benefited Most from Racial Flap?

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:21:00 PM

It is understandable why there is considerable anxiety and antsyness amongst the Democratic Party faithful as we enter summer’s doggish days. We have, after all, seen this played out twice before in recent elections—a lead beginning to slip away in a presidential race in which all the stars seemed lined up for a Democratic win. In both instances—2000 and again in 2004—the Democratic candidates were done in by a combination of their own mistakes and a Republican manipulation of electoral rules to disenfranchise key Democratic constituencies as well as playing upon the shallowest instincts of the electorate (as well as, of course, the help of a Supreme Court largely picked by one of the candidate’s Daddies). Thus went Gore. Thus went Kerry. Thus goes Obama? -more-

Wild Neighbors: Tools of the Trade: Through The Eyes of a Dragonfly

By Joe Eaton
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:58:00 PM
Meadowhawk dragonfly at rest on thistle.

I’m gratified to see that the History Channel is branching out into prehistory, with a new series on the evolution of various organs and systems. They started off last week with the eye and did a reasonable job, although the program was shamelessly vertebrate-centric: no mention of the remarkable eyes of the mantis shrimp, or the sophisticated camera eye of the octopus, so much like our own. (Richard Dawkins says eyes have evolved independently at least 40 times in the animal kingdom; no hope of covering all that in an hour, less commercials.) -more-

East Bay - Then and Now: The Curious Case of Honora Townsend Bentley

By Daniella Thompson
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:54:00 PM
This Italianate Victorian at 2109 Fifth St. was built in 1877 by Chilean tanner Juan Velasco and acquired by Honora Townsend in 1886.

On April 30, 1906, Chief of Police August Vollmer observed an aged woman receiving supplies at the YMCA headquarters, where refugees of the San Francisco earthquake and fire were given food and clothing. Vollmer identified her as Honora Bentley, a well-to-do West Berkeley property owner who lived in apparent poverty at 2439 Ninth Street. -more-

About the House: Kristi’s Rule: Proactive vs. Reactive

By Matt Cantor
Thursday August 07, 2008 - 12:56:00 PM

The weather has been so nice lately. I always tell myself that when it finally gets nice, I’ll get out and finish my arbor. My poor neighbors have to look at that thing all year, and you’d think that with what I know about construction, I’d just get it done, but Noooo. I just want to loll around the house looking for more 1 point snacks and watching YouTube. -more-