After a British soldier wearing a Help for Heroes charity T-shirt was run over, stabbed and slashed with machetes and a meat cleaver, and beheaded, the Tory government advised its soldiers that it is probably best not to appear in uniform on the streets of their capital.
No, this is not Watergate or Iran-Contra.
I hate Apple. There was a time when I would look at my iPhone, and my heart would skip a beat. With its stylish white-and-gray cover, it felt like a luxury car I could hold in my hot little hand. It told me things I didn't know. It told me how to get where I wanted to go. It was exciting. It purred cute little noises that let me know I was wanted, desirable, in demand.
Whenever one of our cities gets a star turn as host of some super-sparkly event, such as a national political gathering or the Super Bowl, its first move is to tidy up - by having the police sweep homeless people into jail, out of town, or under some rug.
How can it be that with Washington simmering in scandals, with Republicans (not to mention talk-show hosts) using the "I" word (impeachment) with abandon, with calls to bring back Ken Starr (of Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky fame), President Obama's job approval rating is holding steady at around 50 percent, thank you very much?
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.
Downtown San Francisco feels like a large public toilet without enough janitors. More than once this year, I've seen men drop their pants in public places - including at Fifth and Market - to leave a smelly mess on the sidewalk. You can walk for blocks and never escape the stench of stale urine. At lunchtime, I see street people passed out on high-traffic sidewalks, and I am afraid to walk around them.
"Natural law - God's law - will always trump common law," said Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and a Christian leader in her own right, "God will have the final word in this matter."
San Francisco changed America. When then-Mayor Gavin Newsom opened City Hall to same-sex marriages during the 2004 Winter of Love, he had determined to "put a human face on discrimination." The long line of couples eager to tie the knot appealed to the public's romantic side. When two people are in love and want to commit to each other for the rest of their lives, activists asked, how can the government say no?
At last, America's political leaders now feel the pain of the poor and empathize with the millions of working families slipping out of the middle class.
The judicial decision to uphold all of the president's health care subsidies may be very disappointing, but the economics of Obamacare are far worse than whatever constitutional mistakes have been committed by the Supreme Court.
"I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you."
Almost immediately after a white killer gunned down nine black worshippers at a historic church in Charleston, South Carolina, out came the politics.
DEAR DR. ROACH: As a preventive measure for prediabetes, my doctor recommended I take 500 mg of metformin twice a day (morning and evening). I have been following this regimen for two months. The same day I started the medication, my night sweats started up again, with a vengeance. On the metformin, my quality of sleep was negatively affected by four to five episodes of bad hot flashes every night. Since hot flashes/night sweats were not mentioned as a side effect either by my doctor or on the information pamphlet, I notified my doctor. He suggested stopping the metformin ...
When SB 128, which would legalize physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients, passed the California Senate, supporters hailed the measure's success as a sign of its inevitability. And what Democrat in this heavily left-leaning Legislature wants to be on - say it slowly - The Wrong Side of History?
There's nothing as depressing as asking young people whether they plan to participate in the election and hearing them tell you they have no idea which candidate to be for or what the differences are or, worse, that it doesn't matter. What do you do with such a person? Can you really force someone to sit down and read a voter's guide? And what would they learn if they did? Probably more about what's wrong with their opponents than what's right about their candidates.
It is fitting, if late, that South Carolina's political leaders seem ready to evict the Confederate flag from the grounds of their state Capitol in response to the vile shooting that left nine African-Americans dead in Charleston's Emanuel AME Church last week. In a Monday news conference while flanked by Democrats and fellow Republicans, Gov. Nikki Haley noted that many in the Palmetto State see the Confederate flag as a tribute to their Southern roots but said, "Today we are here in a moment of unity in our state, without ill will, to say it's time to ...
DEAR DR. ROACH: My 18-year-old daughter at college has severe acne that has not improved with OTC or prescribed topical treatments. Her dermatologists discussed the option of oral treatments, including the drug isotretinoin, which can have severe side effects.
In his seventh year of "fundamentally transforming the United States of America," as Barack Obama memorably promised five days before he was elected president, we're learning new details about thousands of immigrants who were released from custody after being convicted of serious violent felonies and horrific sex crimes. Instead of doing his duty to keep bad people out of America (or remove them if they manage to sneak in), Obama is bringing us even more diversity by accepting thousands of refugees from terrorist-harboring countries such as Syria and Somalia.
Let's now praise a threesome of odd bedfellows: a Democratic ex-senator, an exiled American citizen, and a current Republican senator.
DEAR DR. ROACH: Is it true that someone who takes antacids every day is more likely to get cancer of the esophagus? -- D.R.