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.
If Barack Obama owes his presidency to one thing, it was the good sense he had back in 2002 to call the Iraq War what it was: "dumb."
Tuesday was a beauteous night. Republicans won the Senate handily, picked up 14 House seats and won gubernatorial races in Massachusetts, Maryland and Illinois. Good times.
"The students at the University of California at Berkeley represent a diverse array of students from all walks of life," begins the student petition. Somehow you just know that before the end, the document will demand that the administration muzzle someone - for the sake of diversity. The spirit of far-left censors trumps exposure to novel ideas. Hence the petition, titled "Stop Bill Maher from speaking at UC Berkeley's December graduation."
Liberals have this terrible and annoying habit of congratulating themselves for their intellectual heft merely because they hold liberal views. Once this arrogant notion reigns, it's tough for liberals to acknowledge when one of their own says something so remarkably untrue and stupid that it makes you wonder just how ignorant is the liberal really.
Most years, California offers up supersize election stories - an embarrassment of riches for the opinion columnist. This year, other states are getting all the drama while California looks as staid as a bored accountant.
"I would not be inclined to make a political decision on something as serious as Ebola," Gov. Jerry Brown told the San Francisco Chronicle's Carla Marinucci on Monday. By Wednesday, California had joined New Jersey and New York in mandating 21-day quarantines for people returning from Ebola-stricken areas if they had contact with infected patients. Unlike New York, California had yet to see a confirmed Ebola case, although state health officials are aware of 19 individuals who recently traveled to an Ebola-affected country.
Grow old with me!
For some, the decision to vote 'yes' on Measure G – the Manteca Unified School Bond – may still be in question. Considering the many diverse opinions expressed in the Bulletin in recent weeks, this is understandable. Let me try to dispel any lingering doubts about voting 'Yes' on G.
The column by Sherri Stoddard, a Registered Nurse who serves on the California Nurses Association board that supports Proposition 45, was penned in favor of the ballot proposition that appeared on Tuesday's opinion page. The headline, though, incorrectly referenced the nurses supporting Proposition 46.
The nation's largest retailer is passing the cost of health care onto you.
The Metropolitan Opera in New York City is hardly a site for hundreds of angry protesters. But they have erupted over their current selection, an opera called "The Death of Klinghoffer." Leon Klinghoffer was the 69-year-old paralyzed New Yorker who in 1985 was aboard the hijacked cruise ship Achille Lauro, then executed by Islamic terrorists because he was a Jew. The terrorists forced the ship's barber and a waiter to throw his body and his wheelchair overboard off the coast of Egypt.
You heard it here first.
Here we go again - into yet another war in a tumultuous swath of the world we still don't comprehend. For a preview of what we're stepping into in Iraq and Syria, let's remember Afghanistan.
If you believe Houston Mayor Annise Parker, then you have to believe that when lawyers for her city subpoenaed five local pastors and demanded their sermons, the episode represented an unfortunate instance of lawyer overreach, with no intent to harass or intimidate the opposition.
I know Republicans who voted for Jerry Brown in 2010. They thought he'd be like Richard Nixon going to China and stand up to public employee unions by fixing a dysfunctional pension system. They thought he'd live up to his pose as elder sage, ready to do what's best for California. After he won a return engagement as governor, Brown liked to bloviate about the need for elected officials to demonstrate "loyalty to California."