There's a musicality to the whine of a highballing freight train on an open stretch of track, just as there is to the whine of an 18-wheeler barreling down the Interstate. Both have been a muse for many a songwriter. But you rarely hear a song rhapsodizing about the off-key whine of today's super-rich.
If some voters feel a sense of déjà vu as Tuesday's election nears, one reason may be the battle between the tax-raising Propositions 30 and 38, a fight with strong and ironic echoes of the historic June 1978 clash between two property tax-cutting measures, Propositions 8 and 13.
On the surface, Proposition 36 Tuesday's ballot seems like it should be an absolute slam-dunk. That's the initiative seeking to change California's landmark Three-Strikes-and-You're-Out law, the 1994 measure imposing an automatic 25-years-to-life sentence on most three-time felons.
America has always had political campaigns that dig into the muck of their opponents' personal lives, then fling any nasty nuggets of negativity they find right into the face of voters. But this year is different. Not, of course, because there's any less singling of slime, but because the campaigns are also digging into the private affairs of another political target: You.
NARAL Pro-Choice America is targeting what it calls "Obama defectors": female voters who supported Barack Obama in 2008 but now are considering voting for Mitt Romney.
It became clear early last spring that the trustees of the 23-campus California State University system just don't get it. Shuffling administrators from school to school and bringing in the occasional outsider, they began giving new college presidents salaries far higher than what predecessors had received.
"In what new ways," an "undecided voter" asked the presidential candidates during the second debate, "do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?"
Political pundits have been warning about an October surprise that could affect the outcome of the presidential election. But this year's October surprise may have been the 9/11 murder of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, along with three other Americans, and President Obama's deceitful, cowardly response.
Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
The League of Women Voters boasts that it presents "unbiased nonpartisan information about elections, the voting process, and issues." Phyllis Loya always assumed that meant the organization believed in presenting both sides of issues to its members, but recently she discovered she was wrong.
In the final debate, liberal CBS anchorman Bob Schieffer did it right. He moderated without asserting his own political opinions. Indeed, if this was all you had as a compass, you'd never know where he leaned. It was a welcome change from the Raddatz and Crowley libfests.
President Barack Obama won the final presidential debate because it was on foreign policy, and the president's foreign policy - unlike his domestic spending - is popular with the American people.
Who are these undecided voters?
As we know, the government can't do anything right. We know this not only because a menagerie of right-wing media yackers and anti-government politicians ceaselessly bleat this message at us, but also because it's often echoed by such basso profundo media voices as the New York Times.
To all of my fellow evangelicals on the religious right, please, stop your fake proselytizing and trumpeting of biblical values if all you're going to do is run roughshod over your biblical convictions in order for your partisan views to take center stage.
The celebrations in Havana and the sullen silence in Miami tell you all you need to know about who won this round with Castro's Cuba.
The spooks are spooked.
Brought before a House inquisition, MIT professor and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber burbled a recantation of his beliefs about how that triumph of liberalism had been achieved.
The intelligence was obtained illegally. The hackers presented a threat to workers and their families. Foreign operatives likely were behind the document theft. Any news organizations that report this ill-gotten information are, if not un-American, surely "morally treasonous and spectacularly dishonorable."
In the spirit of holiday harmony and goodwill toward all, I say it's time for you working stiffs to extend your hands in a gesture of solidarity with America's millionaires.
This is Woody's story, my favorite Christmas story.
Christmas may not be the most solemn of all Christian feasts. That distinction belongs to Easter. Yet our salvation through the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of our Lord would never have been possible, had he not become one of us in the womb of Mary. Besides, for sheer popular appeal, Christmas still wins the gold.
The year is winding down with some good TV news: The amoral biker-gang drama "Sons of Anarchy" has ended its seven-year run on the cable channel FX, after a final season drenched in pointless sex and violence. Jax, the leader of the gang, shot a bunch of his enemies dead and then drove his motorcycle straight into the oncoming grill of a semi truck.
When California Gov. Jerry Brown was pushing Proposition 30 in 2012, he sold it with the promise that the income and sales tax increases in his measure would put off sharp tuition increases in the UC and CSU systems. Sacramento increased state funding for the University of California and California State University by 5 percent annually for two years and then 4 percent annually for the next two years. Budget documents heralded a four-year deal that would keep tuition flat.
Barack Obama has announced the particulars of his executive amnesty for an estimated five million of the many more foreigners who broke our laws to get into the United States. This amnesty will, of course, become a magnet for more illegals to work the same racket, hoping for the same reward.
In July of 1967, after race riots gutted Newark and Detroit, requiring troops to put them down, LBJ appointed a commission to investigate what happened, and why.
From the very beginning, this was much ado about an aberration, a tragic aberration to be sure, but an aberration nonetheless.
Last year, Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell stood trial in Philadelphia for the deaths of one woman and seven babies who had their throats slit, but national reporters didn't want to cover it. It's a "local crime story," they said. Washington Post media blogger Erik Wemple said that when he asked national reporters about avoiding the Gosnell story, the typical response was "Get out of my face with this agenda-driven stuff, and come back when you have a real story."
We hand a man a gun and ask him to protect us. If something goes horribly wrong, perhaps in a flurry of panic, we don't rush to punish him. We make sure a criminal justice system meant to protect all citizens also protects him. We blanket him in the presumption of innocence. It's the reason juries are loath to convict and, as happened in Missouri, grand juries are loath to indict officers involved in shootings.