The Koch brothers - the GOP megadonors and fossil fuel magnates - live in their own special world, enshrouded in the fumes emanating from their family's enormous stockpiles of wealth.
That is how one unnamed official described the military option in Iraq, on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.
At the end of the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama famously wrote that our world may be at the "end of history" where "Western liberal democracy" becomes "the final form of human government."
It has been a summer of remembrance.
Back in the 1950s, C.S. Lewis saw chastity as under attack with "all the contemporary propaganda for lust that makes people "feel that the desires we are resisting are so 'natural,' so 'healthy,' and so reasonable, that it is almost perverse and abnormal to resist them."
The (well-funded, I am sure) opposition to San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener's ballot measure to tax soda and other sugary drinks calls itself the Coalition for an Affordable City. Its website features owners of corner markets explaining how the proposed tax would hurt their businesses and expressing their bewilderment at City Hall's picking on hardworking merchants.
There is no white Republican elected official today who is coming close to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's effort to reach out to black voters.
In June, President Barack Obama sent a letter to Congress asking for help to address the surge of illegal crossings at the Texas-Mexico border. Among other items, Obama asked Congress to grant him the legal authority "to exercise discretion in processing the return and removal of unaccompanied minor children from non-contiguous countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador."
Last week, by 2-1 vote, a Washington, D.C., appellate panel ruled that the Obama administration unlawfully changed Obamacare. Meanwhile, on the same day, on the same question, a panel from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the other way. This issue is headed for the Supreme Court.
Anyone who thinks the cultural left is going to stop its political correctness with the Washington Redskins isn't reading USA Today. On the top of their Sports front page on July 22, the paper reported on activists taking a stand against "redface," championing a group called Eradicating Offensive Indian Mascotry.
The New York Times has seen the light. On Sunday, the paper editorialized in favor of an end to the federal ban on marijuana. According to Tony Newman of the Drug Policy Alliance, The Gray Lady has become the first major national newspaper to support legalizing marijuana.
When I heard our Congress critters are taking an extended vacation for all of August and part of September, I had two incongruous reactions: gratitude and anger.
The FBI's motto is "Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity." But given the FBI sting against Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow - a convicted felon who was freed from prison in 2003 because the feds got him to testify against a confederate - I suspect that a more apt motto might be "Fuggedaboutit."
The "crossfire" mentality that defines public discourse today has the obvious problem of ignoring the fact that most of us land somewhere in the middle, turning every debate into a shouting contest between the extremists who generate passion and ratings, and rarely reflecting the views of the majority in the middle. I've been saying for years that it might be just as entertaining, and certainly more productive, to see where ideological opposites find common ground. But until someone actually attempts it, we will keep spiraling down into extremism and incivility.
The news that Google executive Forrest Hayes died on a yacht after being injected with heroin by a "date" he met on a website that connects "sugar daddies" with "sugar babies" has prompted not only charges against the woman, 26-year-old Alix Tichelman, and an investigation of a similar death (ruled accidental) involving Ms. Tichelman in 2013, but also questions about the website that brought the dead husband and father into contact with the woman who literally killed him.
University of California Regent Richard Blum confessed that he was "apoplectic" at the Board of Regents meeting Wednesday. The husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein supports tuition increases as high as 28 percent over five years, which the board approved Thursday. Blum warned that private universities such as Yale and Stanford threaten to poach academic superstars. "In my investment business, if I underpaid my staff as much as the university is underpaid," said Blum, "I'd have nothing but empty desks." And: "You've got to get real about this stuff."
Asserting a legal and constitutional authority he himself said he did not have, President Obama is going rogue, issuing an executive amnesty to 4 to 5 million illegal aliens.
Lloyd Blankfein is very concerned about income inequality. With his face reflecting both worry and perplexity, he recently called inequality "very destabilizing."
"Grubergate" is the name for the embarrassing revelations about Obamacare by its chief architect, MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber. Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH) predicted that the House Oversight Committee will hold hearings on this issue, so the public can learn the facts underlying this legislative failure.
Here's something that might not have occurred to you: It's not easy being rich.
Dick Tuck, the legendary political prankster and wit, once ran for local office in San Francisco and lost. His concession speech, in its entirety: "The people have spoken - the bastards."
The words "deportation relief" jumped out at me from Greg Sargent's Washington Post blog posting titled "Get ready for a titanic battle over immigration." Those two words seem so benign compared with "amnesty" - the preferred usage in the GOP lexicon - but that is their meaning.
"How do you like the Journal's war?"
While the Republicans were busy wiping the floor with Democrats on Election Day, the citizens of Berkeley were making history.
In her mind, Dianne Feinstein will always be mayor of San Francisco. She may be a high-ranking U.S. senator with more than her share of clout in Washington, but she never forgets her roots as onetime mayor and supervisor in the city by the bay. As Ess Eff's mayor emerita, Feinstein recently inserted herself into the city's regulation of Airbnb and other short-term rental concerns. Last month, DiFi wrote a piece for the San Francisco Chronicle urging Mayor Ed Lee to veto compromise legislation written by Supervisor David Chiu. The senator sees Airbnb as a neighborhood killer ...
A big surprise from this year's elections is that American politics has become dominated by the least likely of participants: shy people.
What happens to a person when their reckless driving while under the influence alcohol kills eight people? How about if this same person then gets indicted for criminal negligence leading to the accident and for lying about vehicle maintenance records? And, on top of it all, additional federal charges of jury tampering and backroom deal making? While confinement and loss of liberty might be expected for an individual whose dependence on alcohol results in death and destruction, what happens if the "person" instead is a corporation hooked on profits?
Don't look now, but the overbearing power of America's military-industrial complex has probably snuck into your town.
SACRAMENTO - Democrats won every statewide office and a comfortable majority of the congressional delegation and legislative seats. Yet at Capitol Weekly's election postmortem confab Thursday, Republicans were giddy, and many Democrats were, well, agitated.
A good friend who lives on the East Coast lost his 28-year-old daughter in a tragic accident of carbon monoxide poisoning.