President Obama may be backing away from his doomsday spending-cut predictions as the sequester goes into place. But the new party line is that while there will be no impact in the first few days, there'll be a slow, downward slump after that.
WASHINGTON - The screeching you hear in Washington is the sound of politicians slamming their mouths into reverse as they back away from their previous positions on the misnamed "budget sequester." For weeks now, we have been told that an $85 billion reduction in the rate of increase in federal spending - a 2.4 percent cut - will have devastating consequences for our nation.
The Postal Service says it's going to stop delivering mail on Saturdays. This won't happen until August, but the overseers of our postal workers in Congress are already swooning.
Weeks before the Oscars, Sony Pictures, the studio behind "Zero Dark Thirty," put out this statement: "We are outraged that any responsible member of the Academy would use their voting status in (the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences) as a platform to advance their own political agenda. The film should be judged free of partisanship. To punish an artist's right of expression is abhorrent. This community, more than any other, should know how reprehensible that is."
While we sports fans regularly lionize the stars of pro baseball, football, basketball, etc., it's time to acknowledge that the team executives and owners are also great athletes of a different sort. They routinely make dazzling off-the-field moves.
DEAR DIDI: I got my amazing dog, a Dalmation, five years ago. My husband and I were not blessed with children, so Dougy has been cherished. With the change in the economy I was forced to rejoin the work force last year. I am concerned about Dougy staying home alone every day and his quality of life but can't imagine our life without him either. Any suggestions? -Lots of Spots in French Camp
Inside the Beltway, everybody's talking about sequestration - and not only about whether it will happen (various supposed "high-level" sources say they are not optimistic that it will be avoided) and what it will mean, but also - it being the Beltway - which side of the aisle will pay the price.
There is a rule in Politics 2013 that's evident in the flap about a White House aide's maybe threatening or not threatening Washington Post veteran reporter Bob Woodward. The rule: The more superficial the brouhaha the bigger its impact.
"Why did the Soviet Union disintegrate? Why did the Soviet Communist Party collapse? An important reason was that their ideals and convictions wavered," China's new leader, Xi Jinping, told a closed meeting of party elite in Guangdong province.
"You've got African Americans; you've got Hispanics; you've got a bag full of money. Does that tell you - a light bulb doesn't go off in your head and say, 'This is a drug deal'?"
When Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., met with the San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board last week, she said reasonable people could pass a bill to apply $85 billion in sequester cuts more surgically. Too bad she's a member of Congress.
In the age of rapidly shortening attention spans and the mass media hopping from one story to the next, it is fairly remarkable that the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, one year ago Tuesday, continues to resonate in the consciousness of many Americans.
The Obama administration is whipping up hysteria over the sequester budget cuts and their impact on the economy, the military, first providers, and so forth and so on. Armageddon. But if you climb into the Congressional Budget Office numbers for 2013, you see a much lighter and easier picture than all the worst-case scenarios being conjured up by the administration.
In its wisdom - and yes, I am being ironic - the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco issued a ruling Tuesday that revives a California inmate lawsuit to force the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to hire a paid, full-time Wiccan chaplain. Oddly, the three-judge panel found that the complaint "did not contain sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory under the First Amendment." Nonetheless, the court overturned a federal judge's 2011 dismissal of the lawsuit.
Turning your lawn into something more beautiful and useful would save time and money while curbing pollution and water usage.
I have found the issue that can bring America together. Republicans and Democrats, urban hipsters and country folk, corporate scions and infrequent fliers - they all seem to agree: The federal government must not allow mobile phone use on planes.
"On Aug. 4, he's an Eagle Scout and has the highest honor," Pascal Tessier's mother, Tracie Felker, told a reporter. "Aug. 5, all of a sudden, he's no longer good enough to be a Boy Scout."
The angels cried for Caroline today. How could they not, looking down from the heavens, watching the mourners pack Blessed Sacrament Church. The funeral service was attended by hundreds, those closest to her, those who knew her, and those who knew of her. Those who could not attend found time to pray for her soul. One found the time to write about her.
It's back. The PATRIOT Act - a grotesque, ever-mutating, hydra-headed monstrosity from the Bush-Cheney Little Shop of Horrors - has risen again. This time, it's got an added twist of Orwellian intrusiveness from the Obamacans.
Hidden just below the surface of the liberal media is a barely noticed trend of patronizing contempt: Joe Biden is the Democrats' Dan Quayle, but because he is a Democrat, they'll do anything to avoid treating him like they treated Quayle.
Michael Sam appears to be a fine young man. But, no, he isn't the first openly gay male U.S. athlete to play in a major sport. And "brave"? Can we please dispense with the absurd Jackie Robinson comparisons? Wake me when a black collegiate pro prospect "comes out" as a Republican.
It's so great - truly heartwarming - to see billionaires devoting their deepest thoughts to finding solutions for eradicating poverty.
The Congressional Budget Office did not exactly say Obamacare would cost the nation 2.5 million jobs.
The delightfully naughty movie star Mae West liked to joke: "I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."
When my kids were little, an older and more experienced mother told me that one key to raising kids safely is to limit the number of "nos" to what really matters and insist firmly on those. Motorcycles and heroin, she said, which seems like a pretty good list. I added driving drunk or getting in a car with someone who had been drinking. I left heroin on the list, even though heroin use is totally foreign to me. I have friends and family who have struggled with alcohol (mostly) and other drugs, but heroin is outside of my life experience.
Do Americans want another Clinton in the White House? As former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flirts with running in 2016, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also a potential White House candidate, has put an interesting spin on Bill Clinton's White House years. Democrats shouldn't accuse the GOP of waging a "war on women," he recently told "Meet the Press," because President Clinton was a "sexual predator" with former intern Monica Lewinsky.
In 2010, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi touted the Affordable Care Act as a bill "not only about the health security of America; it's about jobs. In its life, it will create 4 million jobs, 400,000 jobs almost immediately."
Democratic fundraiser/actor Ben Affleck - and the next big-screen "Batman" - recently gave an interview to Playboy. His own bias against Republicans, he admits, prevents him from fully enjoying a Republican actor's performance. "It's ... hard," said Affleck, "to get people to suspend disbelief."
President Barack Obama's support for the NSA's domestic spying program prompted a critic to say: "Given the unique power of the state, it is not enough for leaders to say: 'Trust us, we won't abuse the data we collect.'"
The apparent heroin overdose death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman already has become a hockey puck in the war over the war on drugs. During a House subcommittee hearing on federal marijuana policy Tuesday, critics of the war on drugs hammered a White House drug official for putting too much emphasis on marijuana when Washington instead should focus on dangerous drugs that actually kill users.