As our children head back to school and the fall harvest begins, the rivers coming into our reservoirs slow and they empty out. Unfortunately, this past winter and spring failed to bring us the amount of water we need, and the water supply situation for the Central Valley is shaping up to be a dire one. As a community, we face great uncertainty for next year.
While pretty much everybody agrees that the U.S. tax code is a mess, nobody does anything about it. Oh, politicians talk about doing something, but mainly what they do is make it worse.
If House Republicans had somehow erased chunks of the Affordable Care Act - the employer mandate, the ability to screen who gets subsidies and the annual cap on out-of-pocket costs for a year - the Democrats would have blasted those moves as unconscionable acts of sabotage. But the GOP didn't sneak in those changes. President Barack Obama did.
After delivering a number of "economic growth" speeches this summer, President Obama has failed to inspire any confidence, falling all the way back to square one in a recent Gallup poll. Actually, make that less than square one. Gallup reported that Obama's approval rating on the economy has sunk to 35 percent in August, from 42 percent in early June.
There are numerous issues that should be labeled a national epidemic, but few are as important as the ridiculous and onerous laws on the books on the federal and state level that have led to a massive incarceration problem in the United States.
It was big news Monday when Attorney General Eric Holder told the American Bar Association in San Francisco, "Certain low-level nonviolent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences."
"Sire, clear the square with gunfire or abdicate."
These days, almost every political conversation ends up with a little Hillary at the end.
The culture war has gone global.
Forbes Magazine is at it again. This time it lists Stockton on its "Dirtiest Cities in America" list. Not playing favorites, Fresno and Modesto are also included on the list.
Eric Holder, America's first African-American attorney general, and his boss, Barack Obama, the first black president, haven't been shy about pointing out racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Racial profiling? It's real, they say. State "stand your ground" laws? Obama says they don't work for minorities. Yet both have been conspicuously absent when it comes to redressing racial disparities in their own home turf, the federal government's ill-conceived war on drugs.
DEAR DIDI: I was stopped by a Lathrop police officer the other day and he proceeded to lecture me about having my dog in the back of the pickup truck. I tried to explain that I am a rancher and my dog loves being back there but he threatened to give me a ticket if I didn't listen to his lecture. My dog is my buddy and he goes everywhere with me. He would never jump out of the truck so what, exactly, is the big deal?
The Washington Post is a legend in the minds of the Washington elite, so its financial decline has caused quiet panic. As NPR media reporter David Folkenflik put it, "You think of stories like the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, these are all stories where The Washington Post led the nation's understanding, the world's understanding of some major issues."
"There have been times when they slip back into Cold War thinking," said President Obama in his tutorial with Jay Leno.
They may find it scandalous for someone to say so, but our secular liberal media are playing favorites with religion. They have a spoiled child, Islam. Journalists see Islam as a bullied, minority faith for brown people. Draw a cartoon of Mohammed with dynamite on his head, and you are the worst kind of trouble-making hater.
Old songs occasionally need to be refreshed with updated verses.
"A steady patriot of the world alone,
President Barack Obama inserted a jarring note in his speech to the annual Prayer Breakfast by insulting Christians with an inappropriate reference to the Crusades and charging that people "committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ."
How about this year's Super Bowl, huh?
What happened to California's death penalty? There has not been an execution since 2006, when a federal judge ruled against the state's three-drug lethal injection protocol. In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld three-drug executions. It didn't matter. Though as candidates Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris - who both personally oppose capital punishment - promised to uphold the law, in real life they've let things slide. Fed up, two men related to murder victims have filed suit to push the state to carry out the law.
Kim Gunoo is a 15-year-old South Korean boy who has lived with perpetual diarrhea since birth.
If the most frequently dialed federal agency in America can't even answer two-thirds of the millions of phone calls it gets, should the government cut its budget?
Seeing clips of that 22-minute video of the immolation of the Jordanian pilot, one wonders: Who would be drawn to the cause of these barbarians who perpetrated such an atrocity?
This year marks the 102nd 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.
Life is short, so don't spend it beating yourself up.
I believe that parents should vaccinate their children. Because children are vulnerable, the media have a responsibility to inform parents about the risks involved when they don't vaccinate their children.
"Many people were inconvenienced by the Montgomery bus boycotts. Do you think Rosa Parks should pay restitution for that?" Mollie Costello hectored the Bay Area Rapid Transit board at a recent hearing. Costello is one of the Black Friday 14 - 14 protesters arrested Nov. 28 for shutting down the West Oakland BART station and four of five transit lines for three hours to protest the killing of unarmed black men by police officers.
Old songs occasionally need to be refreshed with updated verses.
I recently mentioned in a column on renewable energy that solar power could generate half of the world's electricity by 2050. I cited the International Energy Agency as my source.
The brilliant actor Benedict Cumberbatch is in hot water for getting his words wrong. Appearing on Tavis Smiley's show, the Oscar-nominated star of "The Imitation Game" took a strong stand in favor of greater diversity in Hollywood.