Undercurrents: Reading the Implications of Dellum’s Latest Budget-Gap ‘Suggestions’

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Wednesday November 25, 2009 - 08:48:00 AM

Oakland is a complicated city, impossible to understand in a single season or to explain in a single story. For Mayor Ron Dellums, especially, there is no overall way to explain all of his actions of the past three years. You must search and pay attention, and put together pieces from disparate places and times. -more-

Dispatches from the Edge: ‘Strategic Towns’: Why the Afghan Surge Will Fail

By Conn Hallinan
Wednesday November 25, 2009 - 08:50:00 AM

Before the Obama administration buys in to General Stanley McChrystal’s escalation strategy, it might spend some time examining the Aug. 12 battle of Dananeh, a scruffy little town of 2,000 perched at the entrance to the Naw Zad Valley in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province. -more-

Partisan Position: The UC Protest: Can It Succeed?

By Raymond Barglow
Wednesday November 25, 2009 - 08:42:00 AM

At the “Open University” meeting organized by UC protesters last week, art history Professor T.J. Clark spoke of “imagined communities” made up of networks of participants who connect via the newest technologies. Indeed the students who barricaded themselves inside UC Berkeley’s Wheeler Hall last Friday used cell phones and Twitter to communicate not only with the crowd of 2,000 supporters surrounding the building, but also with those occupying buildings at other UC campuses. This new statewide movement, which brings together faculty and campus workers as well as students, aims to save public education. Can it succeed? -more-

About the House: Tiling and Tapping Ain’t for the Timid

By Matt Cantor
Wednesday November 25, 2009 - 09:06:00 AM

Hindsight is, indeed, 20/20. Ah, that I knew then what I know now. Oh well. That’s just the way things are. Nonetheless, it’s embarrassing when you’re supposed to know all about a subject and, in reality, you’ve made plenty of the same mistakes that everyone else has made. -more-

Wild Neighbors: Appreciating the City Pigeon

By Joe Eaton
Wednesday November 25, 2009 - 09:07:00 AM

When I worked in San Francisco, I could see the walls of three neighboring highrises and a narrow slice of sky from my cubicle. There were few signs of life: a hummingbird checking out the flowers on a 10th-floor balcony, a passing gull, once every few months a window washer. Mostly there were pigeons. Singles and pairs stopped by to preen, court or just hang out. I came to appreciate them as a connection, however tenuous, to the natural world. -more-

Undercurrents: Don’t Sell When You’re Desperate for Cash

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:39:00 AM

There are two truisms in this world about budgeting and finance. The first is, never shop in a supermarket when you’re hungry. The second is, never sell property when you’re desperate for cash. In the first instance, you’ll almost always buy more than you need. In the second, you’ll almost always settle for less than it’s worth. -more-

The Public Eye: Get Tough, Obama

By Bob Burnett
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:42:00 AM

A year after Barack Obama won the presidential election, it’s apparent the change he promised isn’t going to come easy. The Nov. 3 election results indicate a rising level of discontent with Obama and Democrats, in general. Confronted by massive problems, Washington is moving at a glacial pace. What should be done to quicken the tempo, to make change happen more rapidly? -more-

Wild Neighbors: Second Chances in Sinaloa

By Joe Eaton
Thursday November 19, 2009 - 09:56:00 AM
Hooded orioles may nest in the United States, then raise a second brood in Mexico.

The birds continue to surprise us. We think we know their routines, their travel schedules, and then someone comes up with evidence that at least five North American species—yellow-billed cuckoo, Cassin’s vireo, yellow-breasted chat, and hooded and orchard orioles—have been leading double lives. These birds, according to newly published research by Sievert Rohwer at the University of Washington, rear one brood in the United States, then fly to western Mexico and produce a second brood. Some, at least, continue on to South American wintering grounds. This is a bit like learning that your Uncle Henry, the Amtrak conductor, has a second family at the end of his route in Sacramento. -more-