Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
Could it really happen?
In February 2009 - having signed into law his $787 billion stimulus package - President Barack Obama made a pledge to the nation. "Contrary to the prevailing wisdom in Washington these past few years," the president noted, "we cannot simply spend as we please and defer the consequences to the next budget, the next administration or the next generation." Obama already had noted that he'd "inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit - the largest in our nation's history." A month into office, Obama announced, "Today I am pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my ...
Valentine's Day is probably not the day most people would pick to remember the marriage of John and Jacqueline Kennedy. But on Feb. 14, CBS spent more than eight minutes recalling how it was the 50th anniversary of CBS's "historic" TV tour of the White House with Jackie. They brought on liberal historian Doug Brinkley to proclaim "50 years ago on Valentine's Day, she became America's sweetheart, and 50 years later, she still is."
Super Bowl XLVI was a good football game, marred once again by the bohemian elite at NBC. NBC could have prevented, but failed to stop, the broadcast of a female rapper "flipping the bird" at 114 million viewers during Madonna's halftime show. It was another "fleeting expletive" of the hand-gesture variety, and somehow, despite elaborate rehearsals, no one at NBC could seem to stop it.
From San Francisco, where I live, the controversy over the White House decision to require church-affiliated employers to provide contraception in their employee health care benefits has felt like an argument about the barn door's being open years after the horse got out of the barn.
Yes, Virginia, there is a religious war going on. It is for the soul of America. And traditional Christianity is besieged.
Among the strange things that happened last year - and there were many - perhaps the strangest was the end of the Iraq War.
In the 1,257 GOP debates we've had to sit through, poverty and the poor has rarely come up. So it was no surprise that Mitt Romney would be dismissive of them in an interview with CNN's Soledad O'Brien.
Newt's easy. While all of us on the Democratic side were playing "root for Newt," Republicans were taking the proverbial second and third look - and getting scared by what they saw. Hello, Herman Cain.
Two of three judges on a 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Tuesday found Proposition 8 unconstitutional. Judge Stephen Reinhardt stipulated that the ruling skirted the larger issue of whether same-sex couples have a right to marry. That's a shame, because at least an equal-right-to-marry claim makes for a clean argument.
Losing candidates usually congratulate the winner - first by telephone and then in front of their supporters. Not Newt Gingrich. When he loses, Gingrich doesn't even bother to pretend to be a good sport.
Tax systems that heavily tax the rich are asking for trouble - or so the politicians who cater to the 1 percent incessantly argue. The higher the tax rate on high incomes, their argument goes, the greater the incentive the rich have to waste time and energy figuring out ways to pay less.
The now-famous picture of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer shaking her finger at President Barack Obama is both appropriate and deserved. In America, we don't have rulers entitled to the deference and obsequiousness other countries show to their kings; our elected officials are ordinary citizens whom we are free to criticize.
For a symbol of how America's decade-long war is going in faraway Afghanistan, look at the beautiful fields of red poppies flowering so bountifully there. Unfortunately, that bounty symbolizes the failure of an ambitious Western initiative against Taliban forces.
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.