Monday, July 28, 2014

Fist bumps less germy than handshakes, study says

NEW YORK — When it comes to preventing the spread of germs, maybe the president is on to something with his fondness for fist bumps. The familiar knocking of knuckles spreads only one-twentieth the amount of bacteria that a handshake does, researchers report. That’s better than a high-five, which still passes along less than half the amount […]

What to do when ‘it’ hits the fan

A major crisis can hit anyone at any time. No matter who you are and what you have, difficult circumstances or bad people in your life can bring trouble. When the two come together, living your normal life can seem impossible. When an unexpected crisis hits, it can cause a ton of anxiety and even […]

It’s clear: Israel wants West Bank, not peace

Ouch! My last column about Israel got some dander up. The gray eminences from my church with whom I have an occasional breakfast sat in solemn disapproval. Several emails denounced me as did this letter to the editor: “Batson misrepresents recent history and demonizes the Jewish state.” I reserve my real demonization for Benjamin Netanyahu […]

Arrogance of power evident

First, a compliment to the Travis School District governing board for responding to common sense and public reaction against a proposed $47,900 contract that was intended to tell children how to play at recess time. We’ve previously discussed in this column the unresponsiveness of elected representatives. Beyond that subtle failure of public servants to serve […]

Question of the week: Do you agree with Fairfield’s PLA decision?

The Fairfield City Council last week agreed to a project labor agreement for the proposed train station development. Do you agree with that decision? Participate in this week’s poll: Last week’s results Should local cities oppose Valero’s plan to ship crude by rail through the region? Yes: 41 percent No: 59 percent 88 Daily Republic […]

California’s death penalty dying of old age

During the past four decades, no California political issue has burned more intensely than capital punishment, but it may have ended with a whimper, rather than with a bang, earlier this month. Federal Judge Cormac Carney ruled that the death penalty is unconstitutional because it’s rarely used – thanks largely to ceaseless legal challenges from […]

Local authors give talk at Peña Adobe Park Saturday

VACAVILLE — Local history authors Elissa DeCaro, Fern Henry and Brian Irwin will be at Peña Adobe Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday to talk about their books on the heritage of Vacaville, Suisun City and Suisun Valley. Henry wrote “My Checkered Life: Luzena Stanley Wilson in Early California,” the story of the Vacaville […]

Comic-Con: ‘Blacklist’ fans get black fedoras

SAN DIEGO — Fans gathered for the panel for NBC’s drama “The Blacklist” on Saturday received black fedoras, in honor of the character played by James Spader. On “The Blacklist,” Spader is Raymond “Red” Reddington, a fedora-wearing former fugitive who turns himself in to be an informant. The catch: He will only deal with rookie […]

Comic-Con: ‘Batman v Superman’ stare-down

SAN DIEGO — Batman and Superman engaged in an epic staring contest at Comic-Con. The first footage from the Warner Bros. superhero mashup “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” was unmasked Saturday at the pop-culture convention. “It’s a little teaser,” director Zack Snyder told a crowd of 6,500 inside the San Diego Convention Center. “It’s a […]

Artistic ingenuity unhinged at Contraptor’s Road Rally

MARE ISLAND — They pedaled for the metal. An eclectic mix of human-powered vehicles rounded a course fraught with danger Sunday as Obtainium Works hosted its third annual Contraptor’s Road Rally on Mare Island. Dressed in costumes from an imagined era, racers brought their clunky creations of recycled parts and gears to the starting line in hopes of claiming […]

Rockville Trail hike offered

FAIRFIELD — A free, guided hike of Rockville Trails Preserve will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Docent Jim Hanser will lead a hike through the hills that will pass through a variety of oaks and feature views of Green Valley and Suisun Valley below. The pace will be moderate over 4 to […]

Gaza war rages despite Hamas, Israel truce pledges

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel and Hamas launched new attacks Sunday in the raging Gaza war, despite going back and forth over proposals for a temporary halt to nearly three weeks of fighting ahead of a major Muslim holiday. The failure to reach even a brief humanitarian lull in the fighting illustrated the difficulties in […]

Comic-Con: ‘Avengers’ unleash ‘Ultron’ footage

SAN DIEGO — Several members of “The Avengers” descended on Comic-Con to debut the first footage from the upcoming superhero sequel. Robert Downey Jr. , Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Renner were on hand with other cast members from “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” including Samuel L. Jackson and Colbie Smolders. The […]

California governor to meet with Mexican president

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown travels to Mexico for three days of meetings starting Monday and will discuss immigration in separate sit-downs with President Enrique Pena Nieto and Central American diplomatic and religious leaders. The governor’s office announced Sunday that Brown will meet privately with Nieto on Monday about topics including immigration. It comes amid a […]

Man dies after lightning strikes 14 in California

LOS ANGELES — A 20-year-old man died Sunday after lightning struck 13 people at a popular Los Angeles beach and a golfer on Catalina Island during rare summer thunderstorms that swept through Southern California, authorities said. The man was taken from Venice Beach and pronounced dead at a hospital Sunday afternoon, Los Angeles County coroner’s […]

Study: Blue whales at risk of hitting ships

LOS ANGELES — A satellite study of blue-whale movements shows the endangered creatures cluster for long periods in busy shipping lanes off the California coast, putting them at risk for collisions with large vessels. The study, originally published in the science journal Plos One, discovered the whales seem to congregate in two particularly rich feeding areas […]

My 33-year-old daughter blames me for all her problems

Dear Annie: When my daughter was 14, she falsely accused me of physical abuse. She is now 33 and brings up these false charges whenever she is having difficult issues in her own life. She blames me for all of her problems. Even worse, my sister enables and promotes her negative view of me. I want […]

Today in History for July 28, 2014

Today is Monday, July 28, the 209th day of 2014. There are 156 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight: On July 28, 1914, World War I began as Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. On this date: In 1540, King Henry VIII’s chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, was executed, the same day Henry married his fifth […]

Comic-Con: Kingsley voices animated villain in ‘Boxtrolls’

SAN DIEGO — Sir Ben Kingsley was lying down on the job while making his latest film, the stop-motion animated feature “The Boxtrolls.” “I did most of my recordings lying down, reclining on a kind of sofa bed,” the 70-year-old Oscar winner told an audience Saturday at Comic-Con. “I wanted his voice to come from his […]