Gov. Jerry Brown recently stepped in it when a reporter asked him about the Bay Bridge. In March, 32 of 96 key rods in the under-construction eastern span cracked after they were tightened. Dao Guv -- who, as Oakland's mayor, helped delay construction of the new span to win a tony, world-class design -- gave the wrong answer: "(Scatological stuff) happens."
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom likes to be out front on issues. As San Francisco mayor, he approved same-sex marriages in City Hall even though they weren't legal. He pushed for a first-of-its-kind ban on city pharmacies selling cigarettes. Likewise, he signed the Special City's first-in-the-nation ban on groceries giving away plastic bags.
It is that time of year again.
When you get right down to it, the political targeting and stalling of tax-exempt applications by the IRS was an effort to defund the tea party. Rick Santelli, one of the tea party founders and my CNBC colleague, was the first to make this point. I've taken it a step further: The IRS was taking the tea party out of play for the 2012 election, as it looked to avoid a repeat of 2010 and another tea party landslide.
My state of Texas seems to have an inordinate share of nincompoops in public office. But it's only fair that office holders from other states be considered before deciding which one is the nincompoopiest of all.
"The American people are weary. They don't want boots on the ground. I don't want boots on the ground. The worst thing the United States could do right now is put boots on the ground in Syria."
As a journalist, I am not supposed to admit this, but: I sympathize with the Obama administration's frustration over national security leaks. After a spate of leaks last year - notably, The Associated Press' reporting that national security officials foiled an underwear bomb 2.0 attempt last May - Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein joined Republicans to denounce the Beltway's proclivity for leaking classified information. "This has to stop," quoth DiFi. "When people say they don't want to work with the United States because they can't trust us to keep a secret, that's serious."
The Obama scandals started piling up on top of each other in the last few days. The civil servants who testified on Benghazi were heartbreaking. Then the IRS admitted a punitive agenda against tax exemptions for groups with "tea party" in the name or groups that "educate about the Constitution."
Monumental gifts to museums are coinciding with the erosion of arts programs at the nation's public schools.
Last Sept. 11, a terrorist attack left four Americans dead at the Benghazi, Libya, diplomatic mission. The next day, a State Department official wrote in an email, "The group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Sharia, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists." Days later, however, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice went on Sunday talk shows and blamed an anti-Islam video for the violence, even though others in her own department knew better.
Three young Cleveland girls missing and presumed dead turned up alive and in good health. A hero of the story is a neighbor, Charles Ramsey, a black man who helped free the girls from the home in which they were apparently imprisoned for some 10 years.
It sounded like a freedom-of-religion case when a Columbus, Texas high school relay-race team was disqualified from the state track championship because Derrick Hayes pointed heavenward after his team won the race. That would seem odd in a red state like Texas. It turned out that officials were so strict, they warned runners to make no hand gestures after the finish line. Hayes had apparently pointed forward, and then upward, and for that he was out.
Amy Meyer was curious. Then she was appalled. Then she was charged with the "crime" of using a cell phone to video what appalled her.
Federal unemployment benefits for 400,000 Californians out of work since last fall recently dropped 18 percent, a $52 cut out of weekly checks that average $297. Similar cuts are rolling out in other states.
The report from the Arlington, Va., Police Department is, on its face, hardly newsworthy:
You heard it here first.
Here we go again - into yet another war in a tumultuous swath of the world we still don't comprehend. For a preview of what we're stepping into in Iraq and Syria, let's remember Afghanistan.
If you believe Houston Mayor Annise Parker, then you have to believe that when lawyers for her city subpoenaed five local pastors and demanded their sermons, the episode represented an unfortunate instance of lawyer overreach, with no intent to harass or intimidate the opposition.
I know Republicans who voted for Jerry Brown in 2010. They thought he'd be like Richard Nixon going to China and stand up to public employee unions by fixing a dysfunctional pension system. They thought he'd live up to his pose as elder sage, ready to do what's best for California. After he won a return engagement as governor, Brown liked to bloviate about the need for elected officials to demonstrate "loyalty to California."
In 1492, "Columbus sailed the ocean blue" and discovered the New World. And Oct. 12 was once a celebrated holiday in America.
Growing up in Washington in the 1930s and '40s, our home was, several times, put under quarantine. A poster would be tacked on the door indicating the presence within of a contagious disease - measles, mumps, chicken pox, scarlet fever.
I'd like to think that if I got the bad news that Brittany Maynard received - terminal cancer with a prognosis of less than six months left to live - I'd be like her. I'd like to be stoic and brave. I'd like to take charge of the rest of my cruelly abbreviated life. If I were facing death at age 29, I would want to find meaning in an end come too soon.
Just in the United States, the cosmetics industry pulls in some $70 billion a year in sales of what's commonly called "makeup." But lipstick, mascara, eye shadow, and the like aren't the only kind of makeup the cosmetic giants are peddling.
Corporations are funneling money to right-wing governors who work against the interests of their customers and employees.
Practically everyone expects California Attorney General Kamala Harris to win re-election handily in November. The Democrat won 53 percent of the vote in a crowded June primary. A rising star expected to ascend someday to the governorship, perhaps a U.S. Senate seat, Harris has won the endorsement of major newspapers in the state. She's such an attractive candidate that even though it was true, President Barack Obama had to apologize last year for calling her "by far the best-looking attorney general in the country."
Rather than urge guests to leave bigger tips and thank you notes, Marriott should pay its housekeepers a living wage.
I paid less than $10,000 to earn my college degree from a top-ranked school.
I hadn't heard from my friend John in some time.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Westover Vineyards of Castro Valley. Owner Bill Smyth is preparing to shutter his winery because the California Department of Industrial Relations slapped him with $115,550 in fines, back wages and penalties for using unpaid volunteers. Those fees put Westover in the red.
A couple of weeks ago at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, several hundred people went to their feet to applaud a speech delivered by David H. Koch. The occasion was the opening of the Met's new facade on Fifth Avenue. It runs four city blocks, and is complete with new fountains, paving, lighting, landscaping and seating areas for visitors. Mr. Koch contributed the entire $65 million cost of the project, which took years to complete.