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.
I paid less than $10,000 to earn my college degree from a top-ranked school.
I hadn't heard from my friend John in some time.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Westover Vineyards of Castro Valley. Owner Bill Smyth is preparing to shutter his winery because the California Department of Industrial Relations slapped him with $115,550 in fines, back wages and penalties for using unpaid volunteers. Those fees put Westover in the red.
A couple of weeks ago at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, several hundred people went to their feet to applaud a speech delivered by David H. Koch. The occasion was the opening of the Met's new facade on Fifth Avenue. It runs four city blocks, and is complete with new fountains, paving, lighting, landscaping and seating areas for visitors. Mr. Koch contributed the entire $65 million cost of the project, which took years to complete.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to share his long-repressed feelings about a traumatic event. "It was," the Kentucky Republican confided, grim-faced, "the worst day of my political life."
DEAR DIDI: Our four year old pit mix will play with toys if we interact with them but if we throw the toy and ask him to fetch he loses all interest and walks away. He runs into things around the house fairly often so we are wondering if he has a balance or coordination issue. How PETS we work on this? We adopted him when he was a year old and he is so calm and such a joy to us. Our other issue, unrelated, is that he growls intensely at anyone that comes to our home even if ...
"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.