"Back-to-school" sales seem to start earlier every year. These days, more than binders and backpacks are on offer. Now, public schools themselves are for sale.
WASHINGTON - The storming of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the brutal murders of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, produced chaos this week in the so-called mainstream media. Instead of asking about how the heck this could happen in the aftermath of the Obama administration's Arab Spring euphoria, "reporters" started looking for scapegoats.
When Michael Jordan talked to the press after a Chicago Bulls or Washington Wizards game, fans never got to see the superstar with sweat dripping from his brow or a towel wrapped around his waist after emerging from the shower.
"We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the consulate to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo," U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice told ABC's "This Week" Sunday. "And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons."
"No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don't have the money," President Barack Obama told the Democratic National Convention as he accepted his party's nomination in Charlotte, N.C., this month.
The Western Hemisphere, from Mexico on down, traditionally served as a happy hunting ground for American business. From the Rio Grande to Cape Horn, cheap labor, cheap oil, cheap copper, cheap gold, cheap bananas, cheap beef, cheap wheat, cheap palm oil, and cheap politicians made Latin American countries attractive places to extract profits.
They were called "checkers," volunteers who posed as potential apartment renters or home buyers during the 1960s, '70s and '80s, responding to possible cases of racial or religious discrimination in housing.
I, for one, am tired of hearing complaints that our giant, bailed-out banks have simply taken the money and run, giving nothing back to society.
They don't fear us, and they don't respect us. That's the only message you can take away from an Egyptian mob's attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo during which rioters scaled embassy walls and tore down the American flag on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. President Barack Obama helped ease out Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak - a dictator, yes, but also an ally - to facilitate the Arab Spring, and this is the thanks America gets.
About 30 years ago, Paul Volcker launched a monumental monetary effort to bring down inflation. As Fed chairman, he sold bonds, removed cash from the economy and cared not one wit about rising interest rates. And it worked. Gold plunged, King Dollar soared, and the drop-off in bank reserves and money extinguished high inflation - and actually launched a multi-decade period of very low inflation.
Maybe comparing Republicans to Nazis started with the 1964 Goldwater/Johnson presidential race.
I will never forget the phone ringing on that sunny September morning and my friend Annie telling me to turn on the television because the world was going to hell. My children, then 8 and 11, woke up a few minutes later to see me staring at the images of the planes hitting the towers.
What a good day it is, for only five years after that ugly Wall Street collapse, the Dow Jones Average has soared back above 13,000 and top executive paychecks are at Zippididoodah levels. The only little cloud over this otherwise sunshiny recovery is… well, you. You people for whom Labor Day is named, that is.
The conventions have come and gone, but as always, the TV network "news" coverage of Tampa and Charlotte demonstrated once again that these people have no intention of trying to be equally positive or equally aggressive with the two major parties. Their obvious, but unstated, agenda is to drag Obama over the finish line to re-election.
You've heard of the "October surprise," where candidates hold onto something negative about their opponent, then spring it at the last moment so the opponent won't have time to respond much before Election Day?
Where are the peaceniks? Why aren't they marching on Capitol Hill to protest President Barack Obama's use of military force in Syria and Iraq? The San Francisco Chronicle's Kevin Fagan interviewed peace activists who told him that their ranks are numb, in part because America has been at war for more than a decade. Some even wonder whether the Islamic State is so barbaric as to merit airstrikes.
"I see the media is at it again," an acquaintance said referring to the deluge of coverage after the Ray Rice assault on his wife. True, a ton of coverage on what became a national, if not international story.
For those of you who read my last column and thought I had crossed over to the dark side, this one should tilt the world back on its proper axis.
"You'll never meet anyone who says, 'I want to be a millionaire. I think I'll start a winery,'" owner Bill Smyth tells me from his small office over the tasting room of Westover Vineyards, nestled in Palomares Canyon. Smyth has worked in a number of fields. He made some money. He bought the vineyard property when he was young. His ex-wife bought him a kit to make wine, and his labor of love turned into a small business.
The video of a Syrian captor beheading American freelance journalist James Foley "has done more damage than any ransom ever could," former Iranian hostage Sarah Shourd warned on CNN recently. Foley's parents have been vocal about their frustration in knowing that their son remained a hostage as France and other European countries paid a reported average of $3 million-plus to free their citizens. The family wants to establish an organization to provide information to other families, presumably to get around a no-ransom policy.
When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down a mere a two-game suspension for domestic violence, he took his cue from some of the very same women's groups now calling for his head.
Supervisor David Chiu wants San Francisco to become the first American city to oppose any ban on sex-selective abortions. It apparently has not occurred to him why no other city has chosen to do so.
In its wisdom (such as it is), the California Legislature passed a measure that would change the standard of sexual consent on the state's college campuses. Gov. Jerry Brown should veto this bill. If the University of California and other institutions that receive state-funded student aid want to demonstrate they have "no tolerance for any form of sexual violence" when students report rape as state Sen. Kevin de Leon has argued, then they should call the cops, not academic panels.
The bums they were. The L.A. bums they are.
It seems like yesterday. And yet, so much was different.
The strategy that President Obama laid out Wednesday night to "degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL," is incoherent, inconsistent and, ultimately, non-credible.
For the first time since 1997, the U.S. economy just added at least 200,000 jobs per month for six months running. GDP grew at a 4 percent annual clip between April and June. The percentage of Americans who describe the economy as "good" has climbed to the highest level of President Barack Obama's presidency.
By releasing the grisly videos of the beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, ISIS has altered the political landscape here and across the Middle East.
Why has there been no media interest in the police shooting of an apparently unarmed suspect in Salt Lake City?
On Aug. 24, United Airlines diverted a Newark-to-Denver flight to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport after two passengers got into an argument. It started when a 47-year-old man used a device called the Knee Defender to prevent the 48-year-old woman in front of him from reclining her seat.