New: DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGE: The U.S. & The Afghan Train Wreck

By Conn Hallinan
Monday April 16, 2012 - 10:52:00 AM

The recent decision by the Taliban and one of its allies to withdraw from peace talks with Washington underlines the train wreck the U.S. is headed for in Afghanistan. Indeed, for an administration touted as sophisticated and intelligent, virtually every decision the White House has made vis-à-vis Afghanistan has been a disaster. -more-

New: ON MENTAL ILLNESS: Most Persons with Mental Illness not Violent

By Jack Bragen
Tuesday April 17, 2012 - 07:11:00 AM

Much publicity has been given to the tragic death of Peter Cukor, apparently killed by a disoriented mentally ill man. This is the sort of thing that creates widespread panic of the public and that inspires many citizens to look for legislation that would prevent future tragedies of this kind. Certainly, it is a sad thing that Mr. Cukor was killed in the prime of life, and my heart goes out to his family. -more-

ECLECTIC RANT: U.S. Postal Service: Privatize or Reform

By Ralph E. Stone
Saturday April 14, 2012 - 10:34:00 AM

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is a branch of the federal government headed by a Postmaster General and a Board of Governors with further oversight provided by the Postal Regulatory Commission. However, ultimate authority over the USPS rests with Congress. The USPS is structured like a business in that revenues from the sale of postal products generally cover costs, and it receives virtually no federal appropriations. The organization is the second-largest civilian employer in the United States—after Wal-Mart—with about 600,000 workers. If the USPS was a private company, it would rank about 28th on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Obama vs. Romney: Class Warfare

By Bob Burnett
Friday April 13, 2012 - 01:54:00 PM

With the departure of Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney is sure to win the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination. His campaign has turned its focus to President Obama. The first week of April, both Obama and Romney spoke to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Their speeches previewed what we’re likely to hear from their two candidates over the next seven months: very different perspectives on economic fairness. -more-

SENIOR POWER: Our Bods, Ourselves

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Friday April 13, 2012 - 01:47:00 PM

It’s Saturday afternoon, April 7. A goodly crowd is gathered in front of and inside Berkeley Public Library’s North branch. People standing around in long-time-no-see groups, chatting and filling up space. Among North’s additions, I notice a second Disabled parking spot, this one in front of the building. Somebody hands me a colorful I LOVE MY LIBRARY button, and I do, although subsequent visits prove disappointing. I’ll postpone judgment for a month or so. More later… Which is my segue into books. -more-