It's good to know that our friendly, über-secret National Security Agency is out there every day, protecting our freedom. By violating it.
I have no problem with the news sites recommending stories to me, or the shopping sites figuring I'm good for another look at those size-41 shoes. I have no problem with someone using my supposedly "private" information to sell me more and target me for whatever they know I'm interested in. But I have to draw the line.
Folks, there's a serious housing shortage in America these days. The stress it's creating for needy families is approaching heart-attack levels.
Is the Second Reconstruction over?
Last week, Bill Clinton warned that President Barack Obama risked looking like a "wuss" and "a total fool" for not acting sooner on Syria. Shortly thereafter - but two months after Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel charged that strongman Bashar Assad had crossed a "red line" in using chemical weapons against his own people - the White House announced that in response to Assad's use of sarin, the administration would send small arms to help Syrian rebels.
The newly amended 1,198-page "comprehensive" immigration bill was plunked on Senate desks last Friday afternoon. On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid forced through an initial vote over the objections of senators who said they had not read it. Sen. Mike Lee labeled the ploy "banana republic" politics.
In general, we don't take kindly to the government busting down our door and telling us how to live. Yet in 2010, the government did exactly that in a major way: a federal district court judge ordered the uprooting of over 250 acres of biotech-enhanced sugarbeets in Oregon. The safety of the genetically-enhanced produce was never in question; the seeds had previously been subjected to multiple, rigorous scientific tests and were determined by the government to be safe. Rather, anti-biotech advocates filed suit against the USDA over allegations of procedural technicalities in an effort to drive their political agenda ...
"The Pentagon unveiled plans Tuesday for fully integrating women into front-line and special combat roles, including elite forces such as Army Rangers and Navy SEALs."
Arrogance is an unpleasant trait. When overlaid with ignorance, it really gets ugly.
She lost her job for reasons having nothing to do with her and everything to do with her ex-husband.
National Journal's Ron Fournier wrote a strong column about why he doesn't care whether National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden is a hero or a traitor. To Fournier, that's "the wrong question. The Snowden narrative matters mostly to White House officials trying to deflect attention from government overreach and deception, and to media executives in search of an easy storyline to serve a celebrity-obsessed audience."
On U.S. military intervention in Syria's civil war, where "both sides are slaughtering each other as they scream over an arbitrary red line 'Allahu akbar' ... I say let Allah sort it out."
When a man has been in the Oval Office for a few years, does he start to buy his own balderdash? In an interview with PBS' Charlie Rose that aired Monday, President Barack Obama asserted that the debate on National Security Agency intelligence gathering "is a healthy thing" and "a sign of maturity" and that "this debate would not have taken place five years ago."
The recent Obama administration scandals shift the spotlight from the economy. Yet the recovery remains depressingly sluggish, with the labor force participation rate at a 34-year low as millions of able-bodied, able-minded Americans simply stopped looking for work.
President Obama's Father's Day speech included one provocative, yet very declarative, sentence: "We should reform our child support laws to get more men working and engaged with their children." Obama didn't elaborate, but we can build on what he said because, yes indeed, child support laws urgently need "reform."
San Francisco is foodie heaven. If you want to eat out, you will never lack for options. That's the plus side. On the downside, Ess Eff menus are getting so precious they take the fun out of eating.
The economy has been in a tepid, soft, slow recovery for the past five-and-a-half years. It's the weakest rebound in generations. The Commerce Department's revision of fourth-quarter GDP shows that nothing much has changed. Over the past year, real economic growth registered 2.4 percent, slightly higher than the recovery average. It ain't much.
The Republican rout in the Battle of Indianapolis provides us with a snapshot of the correlation of forces in the culture wars.
My friend Julia died as we knew she would. Cancer had ravaged her body for a decade. She no longer could breathe. She was at home, under hospice care, when she asked for a dose of morphine that she knew would kill her but also keep her final moments free of pain.
The assisted-suicide movement is the rare self-proclaimed civil rights movement that exists to cater to the wishes of affluent Americans. Last week, the California Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on SB 128, a bill to legalize assisted suicide in the state. (Proponents don't like the word suicide, so they call the measure the "End of Life Option Act.") Supporters talk of their fear of medical personnel's prolonging their lives, of pain and lack of autonomy; opponents fear that the bill's passage would represent a callous act of cultural abandonment of the sick and disabled.
More than 30 years ago, conservatives managed to defeat the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, which would have added "sex" to the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection, by frightening women into believing that it would outlaw separate bathrooms for men and women. In the years since, the courts have effectively done what Congress couldn't, prohibiting discrimination in virtually every aspect of American life - except, of course, bathrooms, which never were really at issue.
Rand Paul's entry into the 2016 Republican presidential primary is good for the GOP. I won't proclaim that Paul, 52, has the gravitas or character to occupy the Oval Office - that remains to be seen - but I do believe that all the other Republican hopefuls should watch and learn from Kentucky's junior senator. His take on issues could make independents and Democrats take a second look at a party where they have not felt welcome.
Just last month, Apple chief executive Tim Cook made headlines when he wrote a piece in The Washington Post, panning Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act as "very dangerous." Apple, Cook wrote, does not believe in discrimination and strives to "do business in a way that is just and fair." This month, the San Francisco Chronicle's Wendy Lee reported, Apple fired some construction workers at Apple Campus 2 in January because they had been convicted of felonies or face felony charges. Just and fair? Hardly.
The debate about a "religious freedom" law being considered in Indiana has been making national news. The issue is whether the law would allow discrimination against gays. There has been a storm of protest both from inside and outside the state - with leading businesses threatening and threatened by a proposed boycott of the state; Silicon Valley, for the first time I can remember, taking effective political action; and Indiana legislators tripping over themselves to make sure everyone understands that the law is in no way intended to immunize or condone discrimination.
Imagine a government energy program that is such a disaster that the Environmental Working Group and the American Petroleum Institute both oppose it. The anti-poverty group ActionAid USA wants to get rid of it, as does the pro-business Competitive Enterprise Institute. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wants to end it. So does Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. They're both sponsors of the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015.
Don't pick your nose (at least in public). The other day while I was walking down the street, I saw a guy doing just that. He had the index finger of his right hand up his right nostril, and he was really digging in like he was searching for gold. As I walked past, he turned to face the other way, even though I could still clearly see him as he proceeded to pop the treasure he had found right into his mouth. Super gross.
Does Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., suffer from short, medium and long-term memory loss?
I never quite understood what "nursing" really meant until the past six months, when the supposed superstar doctor who operated on me in Phoenix (One of the smartest male doctors I know told me she was the best, a woman, how wonderful; beware gender bias.) made a mess of my intestines, leaving me rather critically ill with peritonitis and unbearable pain while she went to Maui. Some very fine physicians, in California and in Arizona, tried to clean up the mess she left, but it was the nurses who took care of me.
"Do the crime, do the time," goes the old saying.
A voracious and eclectic reader, President Nixon instructed me to send him every few weeks 10 articles he would not normally see that were on interesting or important issues.