THE PUBLIC EYE: Is Obama a Failed President?

By Bob Burnett
Friday February 03, 2012 - 09:47:00 AM

The outcome of the 2012 Presidential election will depend upon voters’ perception of the US economy and the jobs market. Republicans have labeled Obama a failed president claiming he could have done more to create jobs. In the GOP response to Obama’s State-of-the-Union, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said, "The President did not cause the economic and fiscal crises that continue in America tonight. But he was elected on a promise to fix them, and he cannot claim that the last three years have made things anything but worse.” -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: Collection Agency Picked On the Wrong Lou Correa

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday February 03, 2012 - 09:50:00 AM

Last year, California State Senator Lou Correa (D-Orange County) was sued for a $4,000 debt owed by an unrelated “Luis Correa,” and learned of the lawsuit only after his wages had been garnished. Sear's billing department had handed the original debt off to LVNV Funding LLC, a debt-collection clearinghouse, which in turn hired the Brachfield Law Group to collect the actual debt. Brachfield sent numerous letters to Luis Correa that went unanswered. The company then apparently decided to stick it to Lou Correa instead. The senator sent numerous letters to Sears and Brachfield explaining they had the wrong Correa. Those letters went unanswered, too. Then came the order to garnish the senator's wages. -more-

SENIOR POWER: Good News from Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Vermont

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Friday February 03, 2012 - 10:00:00 AM


The state is proposing building two or three assisted living centers for aging prison inmates with medical problems as part of a new master plan for the Department of Correction. The 400-page Corrections Master Plan obtained by the Boston Herald also proposes barring federal prisoners from Massachusetts prisons by 2020, handing sexually dangerous inmates to the Department of Mental Health, and building regional women's jails to alleviate overcrowding at the main state women's prison in Framingham. -more-

WILD NEIGHBORS: Bird Atlases Lost and Found

By Joe Eaton
Friday February 03, 2012 - 09:59:00 AM

When the Alameda County Breeding Bird Atlas was published late last year, I wondered in print if anyone had undertaken, or was planning to undertake, a comparable project for San Francisco. It turns out that a San Francisco census was in fact completed some time ago, but the results have never been published. Thanks to a reliable source, I’ve seen the digital draft version. -more-

MY COMMONPLACE BOOK (a diary of excerpts copied from printed books, with comments added by the reader.)

By Dorothy Bryant
Friday February 03, 2012 - 11:34:00 AM

I give myself credit for having seen clearly in a number of important situations, in itself not so difficult . . . it is less a question of an exalted or shrewd intelligence than of good sense, goodwill, and a certain kind of courage to rise above the pressures of one’s environment . . . A French essayist has said, ”What is terrible when you seek the truth, is that you find it.” You find it, and then you are no longer free to follow the biases of your personal circle, or to accept fashionable clichés.Memoirs of a Revolutionary, Victor Serge (1890-1947) -more-

New: EATS, SHOOTS 'N" LEAVES: Berkeley Landlord Bankrolls Anti-Obama Ads

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday January 31, 2012 - 11:17:00 PM

UC Berkeley students who live in the Gaia Building, the Fine Arts Building, or any of the other properties that make Sam Zell the city’s largest private landlord may be happy to learn that some pennies of their rent checks are going to Karl Rove. -more-

Dispatches From The Edge:Israel’s War On Democracy (and why Americans should care)

By Conn Hallinan
Tuesday January 31, 2012 - 08:00:00 PM

From its birth more than 60 years ago, Israel has always presented itself as “an oasis of democracy in a sea of despotism,” an outpost of pluralism surrounded by tyranny. While that equality never fully applied to the country’s Arab citizens, Israel was, for the most part an open society. But today political rights are under siege by right-wing legislators, militant settlers, and a growing religious divide in the Israeli army, all of which threaten to silence internal opposition to the policies of the government of Benjamin Netanyahu. Since that may include a war with Iran—and the probable involvement of the U.S. in such a conflict—the move to stifle dissent should be a major concern for Americans. -more-