As President Barack Obama's second term commences, I thought I'd write about the things I liked in his first term. Here are five:
DEAR DIDI: I am hoping you can help solve a disagreement that my husband and I have been having. We love your column and your answer will be our 'tiebreaker' of sorts. My husband thinks our dog should spend nights outside in the yard to protect our home. I feel sorry for him and want him in the house but my husband says I baby him too much. What do you think? Caring Mom in Manteca, CA
CLARK COUNTY, Nev. - Official Washington has the collective attention span of a fruit fly. This condition is exacerbated by the Obama administration's proclivity for declaring selective events and issues to be crises that require immediate action. The problem is aggravated because the loyal opposition is in nearly total disarray, and few in the so-called mainstream media have any idea what they are talking about.
Top corporate chieftains and Wall Street gamblers want to tell Washington how to fix our national debt, so they've created a front group called "Fix the Debt" to push their agenda. Unfortunately, they're using "fix" in the same way your veterinarian uses it - their core demand is for Washington to spay Social Security, castrate Medicare and geld Medicaid.
As politicians in Washington debate whether new laws should be issued to tighten up on background checks, impose limits on assault weapons and regulate ammunition sales and the like - a debate likely to be dominated by politics - it is worth focusing on the other side of the gun question, the public health side.
Like a lot of Californians, Stockton businessman Matt Davies, 34, expected that when Barack Obama was elected in 2008, the new administration would not prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries operating under a law passed by California voters in 1996. After all, as a candidate, Obama contended that he saw federal enforcement against medical marijuana as a waste of resources.
My eyes filled with tears as I listened to the parents of the victims of the shooting in Newtown, Conn., speak out, many for the first time. They gathered to announce the founding of a nonprofit group, Sandy Hook Promise. Their purpose was to engage in the public dialogue about what they called "gun responsibility." They want something positive to come from their children's deaths.
The face of gun violence is not Sandy Hook. It is Chicago.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
In the 20th century, only two presidents shaped new governing coalitions that outlasted them. They were the only two men to appear on five national tickets.
The State Water Resources Control Board is no stranger to controversial decisions that shape the course of nature and the quality of life in the urban world. Such is the case with the Board's recent recommendation to increase flow by 35 percent along the Merced, Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers from Feb. 1 to June 30 each year.
"Never make an enemy by accident," housemaid Anna Bates warned her husband in the third season premiere of "Downton Abbey". That's what the housemaid's mother always told her.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials detained Roberto Galo on Wednesday morning. Galo is a legal immigrant but an unlicensed driver who, on Nov. 16, 2010, took a left turn at Harrison and 16th streets in San Francisco. His car struck law student Drew Rosenberg. Witnesses later testified that Galo then backed over Rosenberg, who died.
The New York Post headline read: "Could You Spend $500 on Food at This Bodega? A Welfare Recipient Claimed To!" A few days later, another headline: "Welfare Recipients Take Out Cash at Strip Clubs, Liquor Stores and X-Rated Shops." "They're on the dole - and watching the pole," wrote the Post. "Welfare recipients took out cash at bars, liquor stores, X-rated video shops, hookah parlors and even strip clubs - where they presumably spent their taxpayer money on lap dances rather than diapers."
The "ivory tower" of academia has become overshadowed by a new edifice on campus that is reaching ridiculous heights: The tower of mammon.
In the "Star Trek" movies, San Francisco serves as headquarters of Starfleet Command. This cracks me up to no end, as I cannot imagine the Board of Supervisors approving construction of Starfleet Academy or the oddly shaped high-rises you see in the background. And if City Hall somehow did approve the project, you know there'd be some ballot measure to kill the deal. The grounds could be endless: No photon torpedoes. Too many techies already. What about affordable housing?
My guess is that Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican Party's highly touted budget guru, doesn't have a very tight grip on the concept of irony.
If the Rev. Al Sharpton, the bigoted, anti-Semitic, non-tax paying race-hustling poverty pimp, had any credibility left, it just vanished.
Let's review the rap sheet of Wall Street banks: defrauding investors, cheating homeowners, money laundering, rigging markets, tax evasion, credit card ripoffs… and so sickeningly much more.
As I walked into the pharmacy, the technician who has kept track of all of my prescriptions for years was on an endless call trying to figure out who is going to deliver her baby and where.
Millions of Americans file their federal income tax returns by April 15 each year with no idea what the government actually does with all that money.
Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and his well-armed supporters forced the well-armed federal government to back down and return Bundy's seized cows - which were seized because Bundy, 67, stopped paying grazing fees in 1993. How does anyone get the government to back down?
On our TV talk shows and op-ed pages, and in our think tanks here, there is rising alarm over events abroad. And President Obama is widely blamed for the perceived decline in worldwide respect for the United States.
On April 1, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray was denied a second term, defeated in the primary by upstart city councilwoman Muriel Bowser. The beginning of the end came on March 10, when U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen struck a plea bargain with a wealthy businessman who confessed he'd spent $668,000 on an illegal "shadow campaign" to fund get-out-the-vote efforts that helped Gray win the mayoral office in 2010.
The Social Security Disability Insurance program is in big trouble. In 2016, the program's trust fund is expected to run out of money. When that happens, there will be "large across-the-board cuts for all beneficiaries," warn James Lankford, the Republican chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees entitlements, and Jackie Speier, the subcommittee's ranking Democrat. Those cuts will be painful for the "truly disabled," whom the system originally was designed to serve.
I know I shouldn't be, but I am shocked by Americans' laziness.
"There is a gay mafia," said Bill Maher, "if you cross them you do get whacked."
On a recent morning, after checking news reports, I thought: What a freaky news day.
Billionaires are exploiting a tax break to pass their fortunes along to their heirs and laying the groundwork for dynasties.
It has been more than 40 years since the United States Supreme Court held in Roe v. Wade that a woman, in consultation with her physician, has the right to decide whether to have a child in the early months of pregnancy.