Don't get me wrong. The killing of 16 Afghan men, women and children by an American soldier without provocation and without threat to his own life (or so it appears) was wrong. Completely wrong. It is an unspeakable tragedy for all those involved. It places the lives of other Americans in danger. I'm no fan of the myriad "abuse excuses" that once held sway in the American legal system. Those who know the difference between right and wrong and have the capacity to choose are responsible for choosing wrongly. End of story.
I hate to sound like a lawyer, but: There's a big hole in San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's suspension of Ross Mirkarimi as sheriff.
From the moment it was created as part of the 1974 Proposition 9 political reform initiative, California's Fair Political Practices Commission has operated on the presumption that politicians and their most active campaign aides and backers should never be fully trusted.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Woody Guthrie, and in these hard times of tinkle-down economics, we sure could use some of his hard-hitting musical stories and inspired lyrical populism.
Barack Obama's statement that the death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy that cries out for a more thorough investigation was the right and necessary thing to say.
When President Obama was participating in a live video chat, Jennifer Wedel asked him, "Why does the government continue to issue and extend H-1B visas when there are tons of Americans just like my husband with no job?" Her husband is a semiconductor engineer who was laid off three years ago and is still unable to find an engineering job.
Everything is political in San Francisco. In January, police arrested Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi on domestic violence charges after an argument in which he apparently bruised the right arm of his wife, Eliana Lopez. Mirkarimi's supporters tried to frame the prosecution as an effort by the city's political establishment to pick on a rebellious progressive.
As I walked the streets of New York the other day, I saw several white youths with hoodies, tattoos and nose rings. Not one time did it enter my mind that they could be skinheads.
I've been waiting for it: the inevitable comparisons between the Massachusetts governor who ran for president (with my help) in 1988 and the former Massachusetts governor on his way to being the 2012 Republican nominee.
"I am a refugee," my anesthesiologist told me after I had awakened from my third surgery in 12 years - one to repair a muscle tear in my left shoulder and two for the same disc in my lower back. "I am part of the British 'brain drain' of the late '60s. Doctors could not make any money. So I left." Britain's loss, my gain. The same surgery 12 years ago required a two-day stay in a hospital. Last week, after a two-hour surgery, I left the same day as an outpatient.
Rising inequality "is the defining issue of our time," said President Obama in his Osawatomie speech that echoed the "New Nationalism" address Theodore Roosevelt delivered in that same Kansas town a century ago.
No matter how much President Obama protests, the simple fact is that he continues to oppose and mock and disparage oil and gas drilling. He is a prisoner of the environmental left, and he remains on the wrong side of energy history.
If you shake out the Obama budget in terms of bold headlines, it's really a class-warfare, tax-the-rich budget. Layer upon layer of tax hikes are piled on successful investors, small-business owners and corporations.
Trayvon Martin should have spent this weekend plopped down in front of the television with his dad, Tracy, and enjoy tons of basketball games during March Madness.
California Gov. Jerry Brown likes to talk about "loyalty to California." For Brown, that means that public people should put aside their partisan interests to do what is best for the Golden State.
I know Republicans who voted for Jerry Brown in 2010. They thought he'd be like Richard Nixon going to China and stand up to public employee unions by fixing a dysfunctional pension system. They thought he'd live up to his pose as elder sage, ready to do what's best for California. After he won a return engagement as governor, Brown liked to bloviate about the need for elected officials to demonstrate "loyalty to California."
In 1492, "Columbus sailed the ocean blue" and discovered the New World. And Oct. 12 was once a celebrated holiday in America.
Growing up in Washington in the 1930s and '40s, our home was, several times, put under quarantine. A poster would be tacked on the door indicating the presence within of a contagious disease - measles, mumps, chicken pox, scarlet fever.
I'd like to think that if I got the bad news that Brittany Maynard received - terminal cancer with a prognosis of less than six months left to live - I'd be like her. I'd like to be stoic and brave. I'd like to take charge of the rest of my cruelly abbreviated life. If I were facing death at age 29, I would want to find meaning in an end come too soon.
Just in the United States, the cosmetics industry pulls in some $70 billion a year in sales of what's commonly called "makeup." But lipstick, mascara, eye shadow, and the like aren't the only kind of makeup the cosmetic giants are peddling.
Corporations are funneling money to right-wing governors who work against the interests of their customers and employees.
Practically everyone expects California Attorney General Kamala Harris to win re-election handily in November. The Democrat won 53 percent of the vote in a crowded June primary. A rising star expected to ascend someday to the governorship, perhaps a U.S. Senate seat, Harris has won the endorsement of major newspapers in the state. She's such an attractive candidate that even though it was true, President Barack Obama had to apologize last year for calling her "by far the best-looking attorney general in the country."
Rather than urge guests to leave bigger tips and thank you notes, Marriott should pay its housekeepers a living wage.
I paid less than $10,000 to earn my college degree from a top-ranked school.
I hadn't heard from my friend John in some time.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Westover Vineyards of Castro Valley. Owner Bill Smyth is preparing to shutter his winery because the California Department of Industrial Relations slapped him with $115,550 in fines, back wages and penalties for using unpaid volunteers. Those fees put Westover in the red.
A couple of weeks ago at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, several hundred people went to their feet to applaud a speech delivered by David H. Koch. The occasion was the opening of the Met's new facade on Fifth Avenue. It runs four city blocks, and is complete with new fountains, paving, lighting, landscaping and seating areas for visitors. Mr. Koch contributed the entire $65 million cost of the project, which took years to complete.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to share his long-repressed feelings about a traumatic event. "It was," the Kentucky Republican confided, grim-faced, "the worst day of my political life."
DEAR DIDI: Our four year old pit mix will play with toys if we interact with them but if we throw the toy and ask him to fetch he loses all interest and walks away. He runs into things around the house fairly often so we are wondering if he has a balance or coordination issue. How PETS we work on this? We adopted him when he was a year old and he is so calm and such a joy to us. Our other issue, unrelated, is that he growls intensely at anyone that comes to our home even if ...
"The power to declare war, including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature."