Chutzpah. I believe that's the word for it.
Back in 1937, then President Franklin D. Roosevelt, frustrated with decisions of the Supreme Court majority blocking critical aspects of his New Deal program, announced that he would seek to expand the court to as many as 15 justices. Under the bill he proposed, the president would have the authority to appoint one new justice for every justice who was older than 70 years and 6 months - up to a total of six new justices.
San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener will always have a special place in my heart. Braving an onslaught of puns in a wiseacre nation, Wiener sponsored legislation to require that naked guys place a barrier between their butts and park seats. Later, he pushed for and won a ban on public nudity on city streets (except at events where people have grown to expect some exhibitionism). It was a gutsy move in a city where political correctness too often trumps common sense.
Apparently, President Barack Obama was fibbing when he said in 2009 that under his Affordable Care Act, "if you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period." On Wednesday, Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler rated that pledge as a four-Pinocchio whopper.
When opinion shifts in modern America, the change can be like a flash flood. Three years ago, 54 percent of California voters rejected Proposition 19, which would have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Last year, Colorado and Washington voters approved measures to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Last week, Gallup released a poll that found that 58 percent of Americans support legalizing the recreational use of marijuana - a 10-point jump from one year ago. Sunday's New York Times reports that a template for how the two states will regulate marijuana may be found in California.
My wife and I are raising six of my nieces in our home, and the one thing we've made clear to them is that we aren't their friends or buddies. As long as they are under our care and guidance, we are parents, they are the children, and our rules are the only ones that matter.
What amazing alchemists Wall Street bankers are! They can turn failure into gold and reform into business as usual.
Danvers, Mass., is two towns away from where I grew up. I used to shop at the mall there. When I was much younger and stronger, I'd ride my bike that far. We played Danvers in football. I went to camp in Danvers.
It took the awful deaths of Bay Area Rapid Transit engineer Chris Sheppard and contractor Laurence Daniels on Saturday to end a BART strike that never should have happened in the first place. Thank you, BART unions, for putting the public's best interest last.
Add another actor to the list. Chris Noth, currently starring in "The Good Wife," played Detective Mike Logan on "Law & Order" and "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," and "Mr. Big" on "Sex and the City." Noth has now outed himself - as yet another liberal. Worse, his moronic anti-GOP, anti-tea party comments put him into the category of "brain dead" Hollywood liberal, to use an expression from playwright David Mamet.
How's this for irony? Ronald Reagan - worshipped as the supreme deity by small-government, anti-spending zealots - not only has a government office building in Washington named for him, but it's the biggest and costliest one built to date.
Guy walks into a restaurant. Says to the waitress, "I'd like some scrambled eggs and some kind words." She brings the eggs. The guy smiles, "Now how about the kind words?" Waitress whispers, "Don't eat the eggs."
Have you checked your kids' school assignments lately? You might be shocked if you do.
At an event Monday to boost the Affordable Care Act after its glitch-rich rollout, President Barack Obama asserted that his signature health care plan is a hit because "prices have come down." That's the administration's big lie: that Washington can mandate universal health care with beefed-up benefits and somehow the plan will save everyone money.
The conventional wisdom is that Republicans were the big losers in the shutdown of the government and the near-default. Certainly, that's what the polls show. And Sen. Ted Cruz has become the "poster boy" for a failed strategy that finally ended when the grownups in the Senate hammered out the sort of deal that should have been passed by the House weeks ago.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Lawrence Silveira is a Sierra High graduate now living in Chicago. In this column, penned on Sept. 5, he writes about the differences between the two locales, and what he's learned in his first few weeks at Columbia College.
"Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains."
Here's an unusual super-rich guy with a strange message for his fellow 1-percent-of-the-1-percenters.
There's a photo-word montage on the Internet in which a little boy, presumably from Africa, looks skeptically at a woman who is apparently from somewhere else. The boy asks, "You mean to tell me you have so much clean water, that you (poop) in it?"
Where are the peaceniks? Why aren't they marching on Capitol Hill to protest President Barack Obama's use of military force in Syria and Iraq? The San Francisco Chronicle's Kevin Fagan interviewed peace activists who told him that their ranks are numb, in part because America has been at war for more than a decade. Some even wonder whether the Islamic State is so barbaric as to merit airstrikes.
"I see the media is at it again," an acquaintance said referring to the deluge of coverage after the Ray Rice assault on his wife. True, a ton of coverage on what became a national, if not international story.
For those of you who read my last column and thought I had crossed over to the dark side, this one should tilt the world back on its proper axis.
"You'll never meet anyone who says, 'I want to be a millionaire. I think I'll start a winery,'" owner Bill Smyth tells me from his small office over the tasting room of Westover Vineyards, nestled in Palomares Canyon. Smyth has worked in a number of fields. He made some money. He bought the vineyard property when he was young. His ex-wife bought him a kit to make wine, and his labor of love turned into a small business.
The video of a Syrian captor beheading American freelance journalist James Foley "has done more damage than any ransom ever could," former Iranian hostage Sarah Shourd warned on CNN recently. Foley's parents have been vocal about their frustration in knowing that their son remained a hostage as France and other European countries paid a reported average of $3 million-plus to free their citizens. The family wants to establish an organization to provide information to other families, presumably to get around a no-ransom policy.
When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down a mere a two-game suspension for domestic violence, he took his cue from some of the very same women's groups now calling for his head.
Supervisor David Chiu wants San Francisco to become the first American city to oppose any ban on sex-selective abortions. It apparently has not occurred to him why no other city has chosen to do so.
In its wisdom (such as it is), the California Legislature passed a measure that would change the standard of sexual consent on the state's college campuses. Gov. Jerry Brown should veto this bill. If the University of California and other institutions that receive state-funded student aid want to demonstrate they have "no tolerance for any form of sexual violence" when students report rape as state Sen. Kevin de Leon has argued, then they should call the cops, not academic panels.
The bums they were. The L.A. bums they are.
It seems like yesterday. And yet, so much was different.
The strategy that President Obama laid out Wednesday night to "degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL," is incoherent, inconsistent and, ultimately, non-credible.