Dispatches From The Edge: Israel, Obama & The Bomb

By Conn Hallinan
Monday December 13, 2010 - 09:56:00 PM

This past July, a nuclear-armed nation, in violation of an international treaty, clandestinely agreed to supply uranium to a known proliferator of nuclear weapons. China and North Korea? No, the United States and Israel. -more-

Where This Road Has Led Us—and How We Can Turn Around

by Carol Polsgrove
Monday December 13, 2010 - 06:25:00 PM

[Editor's note: This is the first of a series of columns from correspondents outside of Berkeley on topics which shed light on what's happening here. Carol Polsgrove, here reporting on environmental activism in the Midwest, has lived in the Bay Area, which she still visits often. She writes about environmental issues for the Huffington Post's Green page.]

I remember my first ride on a new four-lane highway through the Kentucky countryside, and what a fine road it was: smooth, wide, and uncrowded. We just floated along in our Chevrolet—Mother, Daddy, my little brother and me, back home from Nigeria where roads were usually unpaved laterite and we bounced through clouds of dust, moving over now and then to let herds of long-horned cows pass. It was 1956, and America was zooming full-bore into what looked like a bright future of suburban homes with two-car garages.

I think of that now as state surveyors move into my Indiana community to chart the route of an interstate highway—maybe the last interstate highway that will be built in the United States, if it is built at all, a question I hope still hangs in the air. As our town tries to dig its way out of the mess that twentieth-century America has made of itself, we can hardly imagine that what we need now at the dawn of the post-oil age is another highway. -more-

The Public Eye:Barack Obama: Negotiating With Vipers

By Bob Burnett
Monday December 13, 2010 - 07:01:00 PM

In his inaugural address, John Kennedy said, “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.” JFK was referring to US deliberations with Russia, but his words apply to the current political reality. President Obama’s tax cut “deal” was negotiated out of fear.

The President knows this. In his December 7th Press conference Obama acknowledged: “…the middle-class tax cuts were being held hostage to the high-end tax cuts. I think it’s tempting not to negotiate with hostage-takers, unless the hostage gets harmed… In this case, the hostage was the American people and I was not willing to see them get harmed.”

Like so many of his excuses, Obama’s explanation doesn’t hold up. This “hostage-taking” didn’t happen suddenly; the Republican hostage takers didn’t burst into the Oval Office with a bomb and announce: “Either you continue the Bush tax cuts for millionaires or this place is dust.” For months, Barack Obama knew that Republicans were cutthroats, who wouldn’t hesitate to hold the working people of America hostage in order to secure a tax-cut “ransom” for the rich and powerful. Obama saw the hostage-taking coming but did nothing to prevent it. -more-

Wild Neighbors: A Hawk in the Park

By Joe Eaton
Monday December 13, 2010 - 06:21:00 PM
Pale Male with stick.

I may risk losing my curmudgeon status by saying this in public, but The Legend of Pale Male got to me, despite my high threshold of resistance to anything heartwarming. The documentary is now at the Shattuck, where such films tend to wind up. I don’t know how long it’s playing, and would recommend catching it before it goes away. See www.thelegendofpalemale for details. -more-

Eclectic Rant: Demise of the Celtic Tiger

By Ralph E. Stone
Tuesday December 14, 2010 - 04:40:00 PM

I read with interest Conn Hallinan's interesting, informative article, Dispatches From the Edge: The Great Hunger Returns (Dec. 6, 2010). Last year, my wife and I visited the Republic of Ireland. While the Irish newspapers hinted at economic difficulties, tourists and probably most Irish citizens still saw Ireland as the Celtic Tiger. Perhaps it was mass Irish denial. -more-

Senior Power: “People wish their enemies dead, but I do not; I say give them the GOUT…!”

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Monday December 13, 2010 - 03:03:00 PM

"People wish their enemies dead, but I do not; I say give them the GOUT…!” —Mary Wortley Montagu (1689 – 1762), English writer. -more-

On Mental Illness: Dealing with SSI

By Jack Bragen
Monday December 13, 2010 - 07:09:00 PM

My wife’s recent work attempt and possibly my published writing apparently attracted the attention of those at the social security administration. -more-