The Public Eye: Mad Deficit Disease

By Bob Burnett
Monday June 07, 2010 - 11:30:00 PM

As Congress rushed to adjourn, Democrats dithered over a jobs bill and ultimately reduced benefits to the unemployed because of the concerns of “deficit hawks.” It’s another indication of the prevalence of a form of political dementia, mad deficit disease. It’s insanity to worry about the US deficit when we’re struggling to pull out of a recession. -more-

Blogbeat: Does BP Stand for Berkeley Petroleum?

By Thomas Lord
Tuesday June 08, 2010 - 10:40:00 AM

Stuff found on-line about Berkeley and its neighbors... Two topics this week:First, Berkeley’s love/hate relationship with BP is back in the news.Second, at an author’s event you’ll have a chance to learn how the Internet is messing with your head. -more-

Gaza Flotilla: Prelude to a Wider War?

By Conn Hallinan
Tuesday June 08, 2010 - 10:49:00 AM

Looked at from a diplomatic point of view, Israel’s attack on the Gaza aid flotilla was an act of astonishing stupidity: it burned bridges to Israel’s one friend in the Middle East, Turkey; it drew world-wide condemnation for what many call an act of piracy; and it shifted the focus from Hamas to the inhumanity of the blockade.What were Tel Aviv’s decision makers thinking? -more-

Senior Power:... awareness, prevention, and confrontation

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Tuesday June 08, 2010 - 12:15:00 PM

Elder abuse has not received adequate media exposure, funding from various levels of government, or recognition by the public. Within an institution, staff members are usually the guilty parties; outside, family members are often involved. The U.S. Census Bureau projects 62 million Americans will be age 65 or older by 2025. What’s needed?Awareness, prevention, and confrontation of elder abuse. -more-

Iran, Brazil, Turkey & the Ghost of Lord Palmerston

By Conn Hallinan
Tuesday June 08, 2010 - 11:01:00 AM

Lord Palmerston—twice England’s prime minister during the middle 1800s—once commented, “England has no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, only permanent interests.” Watching the fallout over Brazil’s and Turkey’s recent diplomatic breakthrough on Iran brings Palmerston’s observation to mind: while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hailing our “friends” support for tough sanctions aimed at Teheran, much of her supporting cast were busy hedging their bets and deciding that their interests just might lay elsewhere. -more-

Restoration Comedy:Let Them Eat Paperwork

By Jane Powell
Tuesday June 08, 2010 - 11:26:00 AM

If you missed the previous installment, this is part two of the story of attempting to get my mortgage modified under HAMP, the Home Affordable Mortgage Program rolled out last year by the Obama administration. -more-

Wild Neighbors: Western Bluebird Family Values

By Joe Eaton
Tuesday June 08, 2010 - 12:05:00 PM

I was surprised to learn earlier this year that western bluebirds have been nesting in South Berkeley. I suspect this is pretty uncommon; in the 1920’s, Joseph Grinnell and Margaret Wythe reported “rare cases” of nesting in Berkeley (and elsewhere this side of the East Bay Hills.) Local birder Rusty Scalf caught the bluebirds in the act last May, using a tree cavity at San Pablo Park. In January, a city tree maintenance crew removed the dead limb that contained the cavity. After some prodding by Scalf and other local bluebird advocates, a nest box was installed on the tree; the birds adopted it and successfully reared four nestlings. -more-