Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
In 1993, a jury convicted Clarence Aaron for his role in two planned cocaine deals. Aaron was a 23-year-old college student. It was his first offense. Unlike his co-defendants, Aaron was not a career drug dealer. He didn't know enough to plead guilty and testify against others to win a reduced sentence. He perjured himself in court. A federal judge sentenced Aaron to three terms of life without parole for a first-time nonviolent drug offense.
President Barack Obama emerged from his ideological closet last week when he said, "Same-sex couples should be able to get married." Obama supported same-sex marriage in 1996. He opposed same-sex marriage, however, in 2004 and 2008 and right up until Vice President Joe Biden announced that he is "absolutely comfortable" with same-sex nuptials on "Meet the Press" May 6. Thus, I would categorize the president's position on same-sex marriage not as having evolved, as he claims, but as a long overdue moment of honesty.
National Public Radio's Kai Ryssdal recently talked about the weak economy. His guests, two reporters from The Washington Post and The New York Times, acknowledged the obvious - that the economy is underperforming.
Depending on which poll you believe, Obama is either up by 3, 7 or 9 points, or down by 1, 3 or 5.
First, the corruption. Then, the cover-up. And now, a sham to cover-up the cover-up.
"Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country," President John F. Kennedy famously said in his inaugural address.
Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
"My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war," said Barack Obama from Bagram Air Base.
President Barack Obama was entitled to a victory lap. In August 2007, then-Sen. Obama stuck out his neck when he said that there were terrorists holed up in the mountains of Pakistan and that he was willing to do something about it.
As a candidate for the presidency, George W. Bush took heat for supposedly saying something like, "God wanted me to become president." He never said that. But no matter. Here comes another yet another Bible-banging religious conservative "taking his marching orders from God." Apparently, if you feel God endorses a particular path, God wants you to keep the news to yourself.
Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., has made some nasty charges during his 19 terms in Congress. Stark has called a female colleague a "whore," a male colleague a "little fruitcake" and a black Cabinet member "a disgrace to his race." At a political debate last month, Stark accused Democratic challenger Eric Swalwell, a city councilman, of accepting "hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes" - without presenting any proof.
Mitt Romney can't get past the Seamus story. In 1983, Romney put the family dog in a carrier on the roof of his Chevy as his wife, their five sons and their luggage squeezed in to the station wagon for a vacation. The dog got diarrhea. Romney has not figured out how to put the 29-year-old story behind him. So critics continue to use the episode as the defining anecdote about the GOP hopeful.
Ten years ago, perky actress Jennifer Love Hewitt tried to jump-start a music career with a song titled "Bare Naked." Now she's trying that attention-grabbing tactic again with a sleazy new Lifetime series called "The Client List." She plays a massage therapist who turns tricks.
Former San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Brown is appalled. He didn't vote for Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, and he isn't his biggest fan. But when he considers the prosecution of Mirkarimi for bruising his wife's arm during a New Year's Eve argument, he is appalled. People lose sight of what types of cases should be prosecuted, Brown told me last week, and Mirkarimi's case is not one of them.
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.