As President Barack Obama's second term commences, I thought I'd write about the things I liked in his first term. Here are five:
DEAR DIDI: I am hoping you can help solve a disagreement that my husband and I have been having. We love your column and your answer will be our 'tiebreaker' of sorts. My husband thinks our dog should spend nights outside in the yard to protect our home. I feel sorry for him and want him in the house but my husband says I baby him too much. What do you think? Caring Mom in Manteca, CA
CLARK COUNTY, Nev. - Official Washington has the collective attention span of a fruit fly. This condition is exacerbated by the Obama administration's proclivity for declaring selective events and issues to be crises that require immediate action. The problem is aggravated because the loyal opposition is in nearly total disarray, and few in the so-called mainstream media have any idea what they are talking about.
Top corporate chieftains and Wall Street gamblers want to tell Washington how to fix our national debt, so they've created a front group called "Fix the Debt" to push their agenda. Unfortunately, they're using "fix" in the same way your veterinarian uses it - their core demand is for Washington to spay Social Security, castrate Medicare and geld Medicaid.
As politicians in Washington debate whether new laws should be issued to tighten up on background checks, impose limits on assault weapons and regulate ammunition sales and the like - a debate likely to be dominated by politics - it is worth focusing on the other side of the gun question, the public health side.
Like a lot of Californians, Stockton businessman Matt Davies, 34, expected that when Barack Obama was elected in 2008, the new administration would not prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries operating under a law passed by California voters in 1996. After all, as a candidate, Obama contended that he saw federal enforcement against medical marijuana as a waste of resources.
My eyes filled with tears as I listened to the parents of the victims of the shooting in Newtown, Conn., speak out, many for the first time. They gathered to announce the founding of a nonprofit group, Sandy Hook Promise. Their purpose was to engage in the public dialogue about what they called "gun responsibility." They want something positive to come from their children's deaths.
The face of gun violence is not Sandy Hook. It is Chicago.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
In the 20th century, only two presidents shaped new governing coalitions that outlasted them. They were the only two men to appear on five national tickets.
The State Water Resources Control Board is no stranger to controversial decisions that shape the course of nature and the quality of life in the urban world. Such is the case with the Board's recent recommendation to increase flow by 35 percent along the Merced, Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers from Feb. 1 to June 30 each year.
"Never make an enemy by accident," housemaid Anna Bates warned her husband in the third season premiere of "Downton Abbey". That's what the housemaid's mother always told her.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials detained Roberto Galo on Wednesday morning. Galo is a legal immigrant but an unlicensed driver who, on Nov. 16, 2010, took a left turn at Harrison and 16th streets in San Francisco. His car struck law student Drew Rosenberg. Witnesses later testified that Galo then backed over Rosenberg, who died.
The New York Post headline read: "Could You Spend $500 on Food at This Bodega? A Welfare Recipient Claimed To!" A few days later, another headline: "Welfare Recipients Take Out Cash at Strip Clubs, Liquor Stores and X-Rated Shops." "They're on the dole - and watching the pole," wrote the Post. "Welfare recipients took out cash at bars, liquor stores, X-rated video shops, hookah parlors and even strip clubs - where they presumably spent their taxpayer money on lap dances rather than diapers."
The "ivory tower" of academia has become overshadowed by a new edifice on campus that is reaching ridiculous heights: The tower of mammon.
Just before the bankruptcy of the Mt. Gox bitcoin digital-money (or virtual-currency) exchange, Japanese finance minister Taro Aso predicted the inevitable failure. "No one recognizes them as a real currency," he told reporters. "I expected such a thing to collapse."
"While painful, the events of the last week show exactly why we need the (Web). So all of us can engage freely in the tough conversations we need to make the world better." That moment of fantasy came courtesy of Mozilla Chairwoman Mitchell Baker as she announced last week that Mozilla's new CEO, Brendan Eich, had caved in to calls that he resign for the Silicon Valley sin of having donated $1,000 to Proposition 8, the California ballot measure to limit marriage to one man and one woman - six years ago.
A quick way to kill debate is to accuse your political adversary of "lying."
How bad will it get? The public approval rating for Congress has sunk to 9 percent, the lowest level since Gallup began to ask us about it.
In his Kremlin defense of Russia's annexation of Crimea, Vladimir Putin, even before he began listing the battles where Russian blood had been shed on Crimean soil, spoke of an older deeper bond.
The Supreme Court has done it again. By a 5-4 vote, with the court's five Republican appointees on one side and the four Democratic appointees on the other, the court struck down limits on total contributions to federal campaigns that have been enforced and were specifically upheld in 1976. What the 1976 court saw in Buckley v. Valeo as a "quite modest restraint upon protected political activity" that serves "to prevent evasion" of the limits on contributions to campaigns, the 2014 court has now held violates the fundamental protection of political speech enshrined in the First Amendment.
Mozilla's new CEO, Brendan Eich, gave $1,000 to Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure passed by a majority of California voters to limit marriage to one man and one woman. The U.S. Supreme Court voided the measure, but the hate campaign against its supporters lives on.
Oh, how the tide has turned against abortion. Just last week, there were three stunning setbacks to the pro-abortion movement.
Royal Dutch Shell buried a bombshell in its recently released 2013 annual report.
President Obama has ramped up his second round of economic and financial sanctions on Russia, and on Vladimir Putin in particular. Some of this is already working. But if anybody believes it will be easy to financially deflate Russia, they better think again.
Should Congress repeal Obamacare?
Observers have likened the federal case against state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, and 25 others to the film "American Hustle," about an FBI Abscam-like sting that used a small-time con man to win corruption convictions against public officials.
Politico reported something interesting before President Barack Obama met with Pope Francis: "The visit is a rare chance for Obama to associate himself with a world leader whose cool factor far outweighs his own."
I admit it. I have been obsessed with the plane. Most of the stories I've read offered no new information, but I read them anyway.