New: EATS, SHOOTS 'N' LEAVES:Layoffs at Amyris? Huge losses for the year

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday March 07, 2012 - 11:15:00 PM

Amyris, the cheap anti-malarial drug maker agrofuel refiner cosmetic company supplier using genetically altered microbes as microscopic refineries, has just laid off a fifth of its workforce, a reader tells esnl.
None of the corporate executives had to bite the bullet. -more-


By Conn Hallinan
Saturday March 03, 2012 - 07:42:00 PM

There are two tales about the crisis in Syria.

In one, the vast majority of Syrians have risen up against the brutality of a criminal dictatorship. The government of Bashar al Assad is on the ropes, isolated regionally and internationally, and only holding on because Russia and China vetoed United Nations intervention. U.S. Secretary to State Hillary Clinton describes Assad as “a war criminal,” and President Barak Obama called him a “dead man walking.”

In the other, a sinister alliance of feudal Arab monarchies, the U.S. and its European allies, and al-Qaeda mujahedeen are cynically using the issue of democracy to overthrow a government most Syrians support, turn secular Syria into an Islamic stronghold, and transform Damascus into a loyal ally of Washington and Saudi Arabia against Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Let’s Drop the Big One

By Bob Burnett
Friday March 02, 2012 - 02:53:00 PM

Rather than move forward, Republicans wants America to return to the fifties. They’ve resurrected Cold War themes: plutocracy, patriarchy, and militarism. Plutocracy: Today’s GOP wants America to be run by the 1 percent. Patriarchy: Republicans regard American women as second-class citizens, who should have no access to birth control. Militarism: GOP presidential candidates want a gargantuan military and believe the United States should prepare to “drop the big one” on Iran. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: The Dragon Tattoo Girl Still Going Strong

By Ralph E. Stone
Friday March 02, 2012 - 01:16:00 PM

If you haven't read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest -- The Millennium Trilogy -- by the late Swedish mystery writer Stieg Larsson, you are among the very few who haven't. All three books spent much time on best seller lists. The Hornets' Nest is still on the National Best-Seller list and has been for 78 weeks. The Dragon Tattoo and Played With Fire are on the National Paperback Best-Seller list. By December 2010, over 65 million copies of The Trilogy had been sold worldwide. -more-

WILD NEIGHBORS: Owl Versus Owl, or Playing God in the Old-Growth Forest

By Joe Eaton
Thursday March 01, 2012 - 03:04:00 PM
Barred owl in Everglades National Park.

Word has been out for a while about federal plans for lethal control of barred owls in the range of the endangered spotted owl, but the first media coverage I’ve seen was a short Associated Press article on page A12 of Wednesday’s Chronicle. The story covered Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s announcement of a new critical habitat designation for the northern spotted owl, oddly described (by the AP writer, not by Salazar) as a “passive, one-pound bird”, and a concurrent plan to remove “selected barred owls.” -more-

SENIOR POWER: Women’s History

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Thursday March 01, 2012 - 03:04:00 PM

Shortly before her death in 1998, Bella Abzug declared "They used to give us a day-- it was called International Women's Day. In 1975 they gave us a year, the Year of the Woman. Then from 1975 to 1985 they gave us a decade, the Decade of the Woman. I said at the time, who knows, if we behave they may let us into the whole thing. Well, we didn't behave and here we are." -more-

New: ON MENTAL ILLNESS:Addressing the Problem of Noncompliance Among People with Schizophrenia

By Jack Bragen
Saturday March 03, 2012 - 06:59:00 PM

Noncompliance of people with schizophrenia with treatment including not taking medication has been a problem for a very long time that adversely affects many people's quality of life. The dilemma between protecting someone's civil rights (which we fought for in order to improve the conditions of our lives and which was intended to prevent inhumane treatment in mental health facilities) versus protecting a person essentially from their own folly (because of the willingness of many people with schizophrenia to let a mind-altering disease go untreated) has been a major issue of contention for decades. -more-

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

By Dorothy Bryant
Friday March 02, 2012 - 01:33:00 PM

You have every right to be happy no matter what. If other people are unhappy, you do the best you can for them . . . but you do not deny yourself happiness on their account. It does them no real good if you do. On the contrary . . . so be happy for other people’s sake as well as for your own sake. And if you believe in God, be happy for God’s sake too because that is what God created you to be.— Frederick Buechner (clergyman, author), from The Clown in the Belfry(a book for young people) -more-

EATS, SHOOTS 'N" Leaves: Occupy Education Rally at UC Berkeley on Thursday

By Richard Brenneman
Wednesday February 29, 2012 - 12:55:00 PM

Forwarded by a friend:

Thursday, March 1 begins a series of nationwide actions around public education coordinated by Occupy Education. At UC Berkeley, March 1 will include a daylong student strike, an Open University, a noon rally on Sproul Plaza, and a march to Oakland where we will converge with other East Bay schools at Oscar Grant Plaza. While the massive cuts to public education in California have clear roots in the systemic failures of our state government and financial system, we cannot ignore the active role upper administrators at the UC continue to play in the privatization of our university. Nor can we afford to forget that administrators like Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and Provost George Breslauer have repeatedly ordered the brutal criminalization of Cal students, faculty, workers, and community members. We will kick off March 1 at UC Berkeley with a protest against the UC administration for its mishandling of university resources and repression of campus activism. Please join us at 7:30am to begin this protest outside of California Hall—where much of the upper administration works (including Chancellor Birgeneau). -more-