After the Newtown school shooting, commentators on the Left expressed outrage that gun-rights groups were exploiting the attack to build membership in the wake of all the liberal demands for a federal crackdown on gun owners. Nine months later, they're curiously silent as Rupert Murdoch's cable network FX milks a fictional Catholic-school shooting for commercial gain.
Both the old and new media agree on is this: If you need a story that's guaranteed to be popular, go with animals. Cute kittens, puppies, porpoises, penguins, and polar bears are all a good bet.
Given the evidence of the superiority of capitalism in achieving prosperity, isn't it astonishing we still debate its merits?
While details are still emerging about Aaron Alexis, the man responsible for killing 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard, this much is already clear. This man never should have had a security clearance that allowed him to enter the Yard. And he never should have been permitted to buy a gun.
President Obama barely noticed, but there was a horrific mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday. In what has become a signature of this administration, a tone-deaf Obama pressed ahead with his plans to attack the tea party Republicans at an event marking five years since the financial crisis erupted.
Sen. Barbara Boxer had been appealing to my better instincts as she never had before. The Democrat from California provided a crucial vote in favor of a resolution sought by President Barack Obama to authorize the use of military force in Syria. Boxer voted for military force even though that position was highly unpopular among her constituents.
The California Legislature pointed a giant middle finger at Bay Area commuters by naming the western span of the Bay Bridge after San Francisco Chronicle columnist Willie Brown even though, as San Francisco's mayor, Brown unconscionably delayed reconstruction of the seismically challenged eastern span and helped drive the project's cost from $1.5 billion to $6.4 billion?
When Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana announced last Friday that he would vote against Larry Summers' putative candidacy for Fed chairman if it came before the Senate Banking Committee, he put a dagger in Summers' Fed career before it even started. Tester would have made the fourth Democratic nay vote in the committee, and it is highly unlikely that Republicans would have taken up the slack to push through a Summers nomination.
Political support for traditional marriage seemed to evaporate in the summer of 2013. The U.S. Supreme Court did not rule that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, but the homosexuals are behaving as though it did and filing lawsuits in many states to expand the court's decision, while the advocates of traditional marriage have retreated into silence.
In 2012, the federal government paid some $5 billion in direct payments to farmers of wheat, corn, barley, oats, cotton, rice, soybeans, peanuts and other crops - except the recipients cannot all be farmers. According to the Environmental Working Group, 116 of those tillers of the earth reside in San Francisco. For their farming activities, they pocketed $446,302.
Earlier this month, hell came to the tiny Christian village of Maaloula where they still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
If you cobble together every major decision that President Barack Obama has had to make since he entered the Oval Office, none has been more perplexing and difficult as the decision to strike Syria for using chemical weapons on its own people.
Sen. Barack Obama snatched the 2008 democratic nomination from Sen. Hillary Clinton for many reasons, none more important than Obama's opposition to the Iraq War.
I haven't heard such enthusiastic, downright raucous applause since Texas Gov. "Oops" Perry suggested in 2009 that his state just might withdraw from the union. Unfortunately for him, the applauders weren't Texans. They were the people of the other 49 states.
In 2007, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a congressional visit to Damascus, where she met with Syrian President Bashar Assad. "We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace," Pelosi famously proclaimed. She met with Assad in defiance of then-President George W. Bush and his efforts to isolate Syria for its role as a "state sponsor of terror."
"The power to declare war, including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature."
At last month's California gubernatorial debate, Republican hopeful Neel Kashkari praised Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris for using their discretion not to appeal a court ruling that overturned the state's same-sex marriage ban. Kashkari then chided both Democrats for failing to use that same discretion when they appealed the Vergara v. California court decision. The suit is named after Beatriz Vergara, one of nine students who sued to eliminate the state's teacher tenure system.
Just when you thought the plutocratic profiteers running America's exploitative, low-wage economy couldn't get any more clueless, self-serving, pious, and mingy - along comes Lady Maria of Marriott, magnanimously saying: "Let them eat tips."
In his U.N. address, President Obama listed a parade of horrors afflicting our world: "Russian aggression in Europe," "terrorism in Syria and Iraq," rapes and beheadings by ISIL, al-Qaida, Boko Haram.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Lawrence Silveira is a Sierra High graduate now living in Chicago. In this column, penned on Sept. 5, he writes about the differences between the two locales, and what he's learned in his first few weeks at Columbia College.
"Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains."
Here's an unusual super-rich guy with a strange message for his fellow 1-percent-of-the-1-percenters.
There's a photo-word montage on the Internet in which a little boy, presumably from Africa, looks skeptically at a woman who is apparently from somewhere else. The boy asks, "You mean to tell me you have so much clean water, that you (poop) in it?"
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.