Dispatches From The Edge: The Settlements and the Quartet

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday July 16, 2009 - 10:53:00 AM

When President Barack Obama said in his Cairo speech that “The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements,” he cut to the heart of the four-decade old conflict in the Occupied Territories, slicing through the thicket of “confidence building,” “security walls,” and “road maps” that have derailed one peace attempt after another. -more-

The Republican Death Spiral

By Bob Burnett
Thursday July 16, 2009 - 10:51:00 AM

Out here on the left coast, we’re not big fans of the Republican Party. So we’ve taken a perverse delight in the events of recent weeks—the sordid Sanford and Ensign affairs and the awkward resignation of Sarah Palin. To these jaundiced eyes, it appears the Grand Old Party is locked in a death spiral, gathering speed as it plummets downward. -more-

Are Peralta Problems Symptoms of Long-Term Difficulties?

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday July 16, 2009 - 10:51:00 AM

Over the weekend, our friends over at the Tribune published a series of devastating and troubling articles by reporters Matt Krupnik and Thomas Peele alleging a recent pattern of fraud and fund misuse by the administration and board of the Peralta Community College District—“Alameda County college leader’s business partner gets $900,000 contract”; “Peralta raises at odds with district rules”; “Peralta district pays Harris for 57 weeks of work, and more.” -more-

Wild Neighbors: Seedy Business: Diet Secrets of the Goldfinch

By Joe Eaton
Thursday July 16, 2009 - 11:19:00 AM
Male (left) and female American goldfinches at thistle feeder.

Last weekend Ron and I were on the front porch late in the afternoon when we heard an unfamiliar bird call: not the towhee, not the wren, not a lesser goldfinch; something different. The source was revealed when an adult male American goldfinch flew out of the mulberry tree and onto a utility wire, followed by a second bird, greenish and frowsy-looking, fluttering its wings and repeating the odd call. It was a fledgling begging its father for food. -more-

Wiring to Avoid: Porcelain Fuses and Knife Switches

By Matt Cantor
Thursday July 16, 2009 - 10:39:00 AM

I’m a sucker for old things. Seventy-year-old cars, 100-year-old tools and Fiesta-ware pitchers. Actually, much of the reason I inspect houses for a living is my love of old things. Yes, there are those bothersome days when I have to inspect a brand new 4,000-square-foot house, but I generally manage to conceal my ennui. (And then there’s the money…) -more-