There's a musicality to the whine of a highballing freight train on an open stretch of track, just as there is to the whine of an 18-wheeler barreling down the Interstate. Both have been a muse for many a songwriter. But you rarely hear a song rhapsodizing about the off-key whine of today's super-rich.
If some voters feel a sense of déjà vu as Tuesday's election nears, one reason may be the battle between the tax-raising Propositions 30 and 38, a fight with strong and ironic echoes of the historic June 1978 clash between two property tax-cutting measures, Propositions 8 and 13.
On the surface, Proposition 36 Tuesday's ballot seems like it should be an absolute slam-dunk. That's the initiative seeking to change California's landmark Three-Strikes-and-You're-Out law, the 1994 measure imposing an automatic 25-years-to-life sentence on most three-time felons.
America has always had political campaigns that dig into the muck of their opponents' personal lives, then fling any nasty nuggets of negativity they find right into the face of voters. But this year is different. Not, of course, because there's any less singling of slime, but because the campaigns are also digging into the private affairs of another political target: You.
NARAL Pro-Choice America is targeting what it calls "Obama defectors": female voters who supported Barack Obama in 2008 but now are considering voting for Mitt Romney.
It became clear early last spring that the trustees of the 23-campus California State University system just don't get it. Shuffling administrators from school to school and bringing in the occasional outsider, they began giving new college presidents salaries far higher than what predecessors had received.
"In what new ways," an "undecided voter" asked the presidential candidates during the second debate, "do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?"
Political pundits have been warning about an October surprise that could affect the outcome of the presidential election. But this year's October surprise may have been the 9/11 murder of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, along with three other Americans, and President Obama's deceitful, cowardly response.
Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
The League of Women Voters boasts that it presents "unbiased nonpartisan information about elections, the voting process, and issues." Phyllis Loya always assumed that meant the organization believed in presenting both sides of issues to its members, but recently she discovered she was wrong.
In the final debate, liberal CBS anchorman Bob Schieffer did it right. He moderated without asserting his own political opinions. Indeed, if this was all you had as a compass, you'd never know where he leaned. It was a welcome change from the Raddatz and Crowley libfests.
President Barack Obama won the final presidential debate because it was on foreign policy, and the president's foreign policy - unlike his domestic spending - is popular with the American people.
Who are these undecided voters?
As we know, the government can't do anything right. We know this not only because a menagerie of right-wing media yackers and anti-government politicians ceaselessly bleat this message at us, but also because it's often echoed by such basso profundo media voices as the New York Times.
To all of my fellow evangelicals on the religious right, please, stop your fake proselytizing and trumpeting of biblical values if all you're going to do is run roughshod over your biblical convictions in order for your partisan views to take center stage.
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.