WASHINGTON - The screeching you hear in Washington is the sound of politicians slamming their mouths into reverse as they back away from their previous positions on the misnamed "budget sequester." For weeks now, we have been told that an $85 billion reduction in the rate of increase in federal spending - a 2.4 percent cut - will have devastating consequences for our nation.
The Postal Service says it's going to stop delivering mail on Saturdays. This won't happen until August, but the overseers of our postal workers in Congress are already swooning.
Weeks before the Oscars, Sony Pictures, the studio behind "Zero Dark Thirty," put out this statement: "We are outraged that any responsible member of the Academy would use their voting status in (the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences) as a platform to advance their own political agenda. The film should be judged free of partisanship. To punish an artist's right of expression is abhorrent. This community, more than any other, should know how reprehensible that is."
While we sports fans regularly lionize the stars of pro baseball, football, basketball, etc., it's time to acknowledge that the team executives and owners are also great athletes of a different sort. They routinely make dazzling off-the-field moves.
DEAR DIDI: I got my amazing dog, a Dalmation, five years ago. My husband and I were not blessed with children, so Dougy has been cherished. With the change in the economy I was forced to rejoin the work force last year. I am concerned about Dougy staying home alone every day and his quality of life but can't imagine our life without him either. Any suggestions? -Lots of Spots in French Camp
Inside the Beltway, everybody's talking about sequestration - and not only about whether it will happen (various supposed "high-level" sources say they are not optimistic that it will be avoided) and what it will mean, but also - it being the Beltway - which side of the aisle will pay the price.
There is a rule in Politics 2013 that's evident in the flap about a White House aide's maybe threatening or not threatening Washington Post veteran reporter Bob Woodward. The rule: The more superficial the brouhaha the bigger its impact.
"Why did the Soviet Union disintegrate? Why did the Soviet Communist Party collapse? An important reason was that their ideals and convictions wavered," China's new leader, Xi Jinping, told a closed meeting of party elite in Guangdong province.
"You've got African Americans; you've got Hispanics; you've got a bag full of money. Does that tell you - a light bulb doesn't go off in your head and say, 'This is a drug deal'?"
When Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., met with the San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board last week, she said reasonable people could pass a bill to apply $85 billion in sequester cuts more surgically. Too bad she's a member of Congress.
In the age of rapidly shortening attention spans and the mass media hopping from one story to the next, it is fairly remarkable that the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, one year ago Tuesday, continues to resonate in the consciousness of many Americans.
The Obama administration is whipping up hysteria over the sequester budget cuts and their impact on the economy, the military, first providers, and so forth and so on. Armageddon. But if you climb into the Congressional Budget Office numbers for 2013, you see a much lighter and easier picture than all the worst-case scenarios being conjured up by the administration.
In its wisdom - and yes, I am being ironic - the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco issued a ruling Tuesday that revives a California inmate lawsuit to force the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to hire a paid, full-time Wiccan chaplain. Oddly, the three-judge panel found that the complaint "did not contain sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory under the First Amendment." Nonetheless, the court overturned a federal judge's 2011 dismissal of the lawsuit.
Turning your lawn into something more beautiful and useful would save time and money while curbing pollution and water usage.
The Obama administration's assault on the Second Amendment in reaction to Newtown is not a serious solution. It's a Band-Aid on cancer. The NRA's call for armed guards in every school also misses the point. When is anyone going to get serious? The problem is violence, a violence of monstrous and horrific proportions that has infected America's popular culture.
Though "Bibi" Netanyahu won re-election, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will still look into whether the State Department financed a clandestine effort to defeat him.
If you're an American citizen, you've got one of the most valuable passports in the world. You can travel nearly anywhere, including countries Uncle Sam doesn't always get along with.
The work of repairing the racial fissures that broke wide open in Ferguson, Missouri last year goes beyond the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
The media have developed a predictable and equally annoying habit every presidential election cycle. We hear the Republicans are going to be crushed by pandering too much to conservatives. The Democrats are firmly moderate and need a push from the left so they don't forget their "compassion."
San Francisco's board of supervisors is considering a proposal to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in some city elections, showing how desperate the left wing of the city's left wing is to retain their ebbing power in City Hall. Clearly Supervisor John Avalos and ally Supervisor Eric Mar fear they need to register minors to win elections.
What was Ryan Giroux doing free on the streets of a Phoenix suburb - free, that is, to go on a shooting rampage that killed one person, left five more injured and traumatized countless witnesses?
Mixed in with the excitement of fishing with friends on my old California rivers came a single nightmare.
In November 1956, President Eisenhower, enraged he had not been forewarned of their invasion of Egypt, ordered the British, French and Israelis to get out of Suez and Sinai. They did as told.
Good news from the front: The defenders of the Alamo are standing strong, bravely battling the forces of tyranny!
Here's the short answer: Anything.
Back when political polls were reporting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was likely to lose power in Tuesday's election, I figured that Bibi must have overplayed his hand when he spoke before Congress at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner and against the wishes of President Obama. I assumed he had miscalculated, and that the gambit would backfire with Israeli voters.
On March 10, eight days after The New York Times began the scandal over her private email server, Hillary Clinton assembled the press at the United Nations in New York to offer a typically legalistic and crabby press conference lasting only 21 minutes. The first-blush reaction from the pundits? That wasn't good enough. She can't expect the story to go away just from that mess.
Last year, Congress passed an amendment that barred the Department of Justice from using federal dollars to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized them. Last week, three senators proposed a measure to clean up the federal-state medical marijuana mess once and for all.
My roommates in the course of several hospital stays deserve to have their stories, or at least part of them, in print.
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of staff, wants to honor a particular military hero.