Dispatches From The Edge: The CIA, Pakistan & Tangled Webs

By Conn Hallinan
Monday March 07, 2011 - 09:59:00 AM

Was American CIA agent Raymond Davis secretly working with the Taliban and al-Qaeda to destabilize Pakistan and lay the groundwork for a U.S. seizure of that country’s nuclear weapons? Was he photographing sensitive military installations and marking them with a global positioning device? Did he gun down two men in cold blood to prevent them from revealing what he was up to? These are just a few of the rumors ricocheting around Islamabad, Lahore and Peshawar in the aftermath of Davis’s arrest Jan. 27, and sorting through them is a little like stepping through Alice’s looking glass. -more-

The Public Eye: Pirates Threaten Washington

By Bob Burnett
Tuesday March 08, 2011 - 10:34:00 PM

As US warships approached, on February 22nd four American hostages were killed by Somali pirates. It was an ominous harbinger of the crisis in Washington, where Republican pirates are holding hostage the legislative process and threatening to kill the American dream unless their ransom demands are met. -more-

Eclectic Rant: GOP Says No To Distressed Homeowners and Consumers

By Ralph E. Stone
Tuesday March 08, 2011 - 10:26:00 PM

Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives are trying to terminate funds for foreclosure-prevention programs that help families fend off foreclosure and trying to strip the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau of its funding before it even opens its doors. -more-

Senior Power: Alzheimer’s and Dementia

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Tuesday March 08, 2011 - 12:41:00 PM

Ron Reagan suggests in his new book, My Father at 100; A Memoir (Viking/Penguin,) that his father suffered from the beginning stages of Alzheimer's disease while he was still in the White House. President Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 1994, five years after leaving office. He died in 2004 at age 93. Reagan's son (born 1958) writes that he believes his father would have left office before his second term ended in 1989 had the disease been diagnosed then. "I've seen no evidence that my father (or anyone else) was aware of his medical condition while he was in office," Reagan writes. "Had the diagnosis been made in, say 1987, would he have stepped down? I believe he would have." -more-

On Mental Illness: Delusions of Grandeur

Jack Bragen
Tuesday March 08, 2011 - 10:49:00 PM

I remember from better than twenty years ago, an encounter with a counselor in a psychiatric hospital who said: “Hi Jack. Have you written any Pulitzer Prize winning novels lately?” A few years later, another counselor commented that I have a better chance of trying out for a professional basketball team than I have at becoming a professional writer. (I am five foot six.) -more-

Wild Neighbors: Communards in the Oak Trees

By Joe Eaton
Tuesday March 08, 2011 - 10:19:00 PM
Nature's file clerk, the acorn woodpecker.

I’ve been watching acorn woodpeckers in the Bay Area for years, from the Stanford campus to Point Reyes, and have always found these noisy, conspicuous birds engaging. “This sociable woodpecker impresses one as an exceptionally jolly bird”, writes ornithologist Alexander Skutch, “and certainly it is one of the most amusing to watch.” -more-