Columnists

Wild Neighbors: The Incredible Non-shrinking Birds

By Joe Eaton
Wednesday November 09, 2011 - 09:36:00 AM
Local white-crowned sparrow: getting larger?

Have you noticed that songbirds are getting bigger? Good. Neither had I. But it’s happening, according to an article by PRBO Conservation Science biologist Rae Goodman and colleagues recently published online by the journal Global Change Biology. (Has enough time elapsed that we don’t have to say “formerly Point Reyes Bird Observatory” any more? These people may have a branding problem; maybe they should hire another consultant, or try a contest.) The differences are subtle; we’re not talking about chicken-sized song sparrows. They are, however, measurable and consistent—and may be related to global warming, if in an unexpected way. -more-


Eclectic Rant: Time for the Super Committee to Bite the Bullet

By Ralph E. Stone
Wednesday November 09, 2011 - 10:27:00 AM

Maybe it is time for Americans to contact the members of the Super Committee to demand that its recommendations include raising taxes on the rich with that money to be used to provide relief for those Americans on the bottom of the economic pile, and no cuts in Medicare, Social Security, and other vital programs. A failure by the Super Committee to compromise will be just another symbol of a failed government. -more-


Dispatches From the Edge: Playing With Fire In Korea

By Conn Hallinan
Wednesday November 09, 2011 - 10:35:00 AM

Why is the Obama Administration creating obstacles and throwing cold water on talks with North Korea, and why is it binding itself to right-wing South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, whose politics just took a shellacking in the recent race for mayor of Seoul?

The answer seems to be a convergence of U.S. concerns over the growing power of China, a desperate battle by American arms manufacturers to fend off military budget cuts, and a fantasy by President Lee of a uniting the Korean Peninsula under the banner of the South. -more-


New: My Commonplace Book (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.)

By Dorothy Bryant
Sunday November 06, 2011 - 10:17:00 PM

There are no friends; only moments of friendship.—from the journals of Jules Renard (1864—1910) -more-


The Public Eye: A New Declaration of Independence

By Bob Burnett
Friday November 04, 2011 - 01:56:00 PM

The preamble of the United States Declaration of Independence declares: “…whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter and abolish it, and to institute new Government.” Occupy Wall Street is an assertion by 99 percent of Americans that our government denies us “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” The movement should create a new Declaration of Independence.

In the eighteenth century, the momentum for the American Revolution was fueled by egregious British taxation policy. Initially, colonists were loyal to King George III and asked him to intervene with parliament on their behalf. When George instead declared them to be “in rebellion,” representatives of the original thirteen states adopted the Declaration of Independence.

Momentum for the current American Revolution, Occupy Wall Street, has been fueled by egregious fiscal policy that has worked for the benefit of the wealthiest 1 percent and to the detriment of everyone else. At the onset of Occupy Wall Street, the 99 percent remain loyal to America. They’ve asked Washington to intervene in their behalf. Some conservatives have declared them to be “in rebellion.” This sets the stage for a new Declaration of Independence. -more-


Senior Power… In the loop

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Friday November 04, 2011 - 02:21:00 PM

It’s a “hearing aid that cuts out all the clatter” according to the New York Times, and it’s called a hearing loop. The technology, already widely adopted in northern Europe, has been installed in stores, banks, museums, subway stations and other public spaces as well as in homes. -more-


On Mental Illness: The Causes

By Jack Bragen
Friday November 04, 2011 - 02:04:00 PM

A statistic says medication helps a third of people with schizophrenic symptoms, while a third remain ill and are not helped by medication, and the remaining third of people get well without needing medication. The exact causes of mental illnesses are still not fully understood. However, we do know it runs in families, genetics plays a large role, and the parents are not usually to blame for the illnesses of their offspring. -more-