Dispatches From the Edge: German Thunder; Brazilian Muscle; Sign Wars

By Conn Hallinan
Thursday September 10, 2009 - 12:05:00 PM

Germany’s upcoming national elections were supposed to be less of a competition than a coronation for Prime Minister Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU). But rising unemployment, the country’s worst economic crisis in 50 years, the erosion of the social safety net and the Afghan War combined to punish the right and give the newly minted Left Party a huge boost. -more-

UnderCurrents: Waking Up People Who Are Not Actually Asleep

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday September 10, 2009 - 12:05:00 PM

Some years ago, in my South Carolina days, I was part of a delegation that met with an old-line civil rights leader in an attempt to get him to join us in a more militant campaign. The leader—a Baptist minister—seemed somewhat befuddled by the initial presentation, and so, midway through the meeting, I weighed in with what I believed were my formidable talents for bringing clarity to an issue. The more I clarified, however, the more confused the old man got, until, finally, the meeting dissolved in frustration, without his having committed either to support or to oppose what we proposed. -more-

Wild Neighbors: Dead Skunks and Others: Looking at Roadkill for Science

By Joe Eaton
Thursday September 10, 2009 - 12:16:00 PM

It had to happen. Some enterprising folks at UC Davis have launched the California Roadkill Observation System (CROS), an interactive database whose users can report deceased wildlife they observe while driving. You can either submit your sightings online ( or download and mail in a printed form, indicating species if identifiable, location, type of road, and speed limit. -more-