Public Eye: Arlen Specter’s Legacy

By Bob Burnett
Thursday May 14, 2009 - 06:17:00 PM

For many Democrats, Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter’s change of party affiliation was a mixed blessing. While the 79-year-old Specter is liberal on many social issues and probably gives Dems the 60th vote they need to reach cloture, his mercurial personality and increasingly erratic behavior are troubling, and many political observers see Specter’s actions as self-serving. However, Specter views this political move as an opportunity to cement his legacy: reining in presidential power and restoring the constitutional checks and balances destroyed by the Bush administration -more-

Undercurrents: Why I Continue to Defend Mayor Dellums

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday May 14, 2009 - 06:16:00 PM

From time to time, when some of my blogging and columnizing friends want to dismiss my various writings about Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums without actually having to respond to my arguments, they resort to simply calling me a “Dellums defender.” -more-

Wild Neighbors: Tousled to Death by Coots

By Joe Eaton
Thursday May 14, 2009 - 06:14:00 PM
Grotesque little creatures: adult American coot with two chicks.

Last week I explored some of the variations of siblicide, or cainism, in golden eagles and other birds, as described by zoologist Douglas Mock in More Than Kin and Less Than Kind: The Evolution of Family Conflict. As that subtitle implies, Mock has also studied less extreme forms of sibling competition, such as begging for parental attention. He’s also interested in the parents’ role in various degrees of domestic mayhem. -more-

About the House: Can You Install a New Toilet? Yes, You Can

By Matt Cantor
Thursday May 14, 2009 - 06:16:00 PM

Flushing toilets account for nearly 30 percent of our water usage and with water bills at an all-time high, I thought it might be time to talk about how to replace a toilet. (It’s also a VERY green thing to do, since the system that supplies water to our homes contributes greatly to CO emissions.) -more-