Dispatches From The Edge: The Great Myth: Counterinsurgency

By Conn Hallinan
Tuesday August 03, 2010 - 11:37:00 AM

There are moments that define a war. Just such a one occurred June 21 when Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry helicoptered into Marjah for a photo op with the locals. It was to be a capstone event, the fruit of a four-month counterinsurgency offensive by Marines, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies, and the newly minted Afghan National Army (ANA) to drive the Taliban out of the area and bring in good government. -more-

The Public Eye: Afghanistan: America’s Failed Project

By Bob Burnett
Tuesday August 03, 2010 - 07:27:00 AM

The summer of 2010 found most of the US wilting from a blistering heat wave and the Obama Administration withering from bad news about Afghanistan. Writing in Rolling Stone Michael Hastings concludes: “There is a reason that President Obama studiously avoids using the word ‘victory’ when he talks about Afghanistan. Winning, it would seem, is not really possible.” -more-

From Jane's Web Log: There goes the Judge: CA's scary court-closing epidemic

By Jane Stillwater
Monday August 02, 2010 - 07:31:00 PM

Next Friday I'm going to be the plaintiff in a small claims court trial — at least that's the plan. But according to a judge who recently spoke before the Berkeley-Albany Bar Association, there's a rather good chance that I might show up for the trial but there might not be a courtroom left to hold it in. -more-

Blogbeat: The Straight and The Marrow

By Thomas Lord
Tuesday August 03, 2010 - 01:42:00 PM

This week: Two nifty blogs on opposite sides of some spectrum or other: -more-

First Person: Schizophrenia From the Inside Out

By Jack Bragen
Tuesday August 03, 2010 - 01:42:00 PM

Most Americans seem to view those who are mentally ill as a bit less than real human beings. After all, people with mental illnesses seem to lack basic social skills, may have poor grooming, and may come across to you as not having the same basic awareness that seems to make a person a whole person. That person smoking in front of a building and talking to himself might be one of them. That person sitting on a bench eating a sandwich while rocking her upper body forward and back also might be one of them. Mentally ill people might seem like a crude and ill-formed version of our species, a defect. -more-

Senior Power: End Elder Abuse

by Helen Rippier Wheeler
Wednesday August 04, 2010 - 09:01:00 AM

“If you want peace, work for justice.” -more-

Wild Neighbors: Meet the Pacific Wren (and Other Brand New Birds)

By Joe Eaton
Tuesday August 03, 2010 - 07:31:00 PM

A tip of the hat to John Westlake for alerting me to the recent publication of the 51st Supplement to the American Ornithologists’ Union checklist, essential reading for any active or recovering birder. As happens every year, the AOU has voted to accept or reject a number of proposed changes in bird nomenclature for the Western Hemisphere and Hawai’i. This includes the recognition of new species (splits), the demotion of old ones (lumps), taxonomic reshufflings at various levels, and changes in common and Latin names, sometimes just to correct the gender of the Latin. The process is an incidental boon to publishers, who can justify new editions of Peterson, Sibley, National Geographic and the other standard field guides. -more-

Restoration Comedy- DC Or Not DC

By Jane Powell
Tuesday August 03, 2010 - 03:43:00 PM

Washington DC is a swamp in more ways than one. But an estimated 30,000 desperate homeowners have or will be coming to DC in the middle of a heat wave to attend the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America’s Save the Dream event. (NACA is one of many HUD-approved housing counseling agencies trying to help homeowners modify their mortgages under HAMP.) These events bring together housing counselors and representatives from lenders and mortgage servicers in one place so homeowners can meet face to face and attempt to work out a modification and avoid foreclosure. Homeowners started lining up Thursday night outside the Convention Center, though the event didn’t open till Friday morning. -more-