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.
"I see the media is at it again," an acquaintance said referring to the deluge of coverage after the Ray Rice assault on his wife. True, a ton of coverage on what became a national, if not international story.
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of staff, wants to honor a particular military hero.
I understand why University of Oklahoma President David Boren chose to expel two students for singing a vile, racist ditty at a fraternity event. There is nothing funny about lyrics that make light of lynching and repeat the N-word. If students did that at a university that I administered, I'd want to toss them out, too.
The NBA consists of 76 percent black players. But blacks are just 13 percent of the country. Clearly, the league engages in racial discrimination against whites. Silly, right? Well, this is exactly what the sleight-of-hand Department of Justice pulled off to find that the Ferguson Police Department engages in "implicit and explicit racial bias"!
As Hillary Clinton took questions from the media about the personal email account she used as secretary of state, I felt a flashback coming on. She said she simply chose to use a personal account with a personal server "for convenience." I felt I had traveled back in time to 1998. Washington was screaming across the aisle. First lady Hillary Clinton charged that a "vast right-wing conspiracy" was behind stories that her husband had an affair with Monica Lewinsky. President Bill Clinton denied that he ever had "sexual relations" with the former intern.
It's always nice to know, as I sit here writing, that somebody out there might be listening. This week, I know for sure. My last column essentially asked: What's the big deal about Hillary's emails if she's turning them over anyway?
ORINDA - Mayor Steve Glazer says that he is running for a state Senate seat vacated by now-Rep. Mark DeSaulnier "as a pragmatic problem-solver rather than a partisan." In my line of work, I hear that sort of stock phrase all the time; I take it with a grain of salt. In Glazer's case, however, two facts suggest he means business: 1) He supports a law to prohibit Bay Area Rapid Transit workers from striking as they did in 2013. 2) Public employee unions have shoveled hundreds of thousands of dollars to help defeat Glazer, a Democrat.
On Inauguration Day 2009, the White House website declared President Obama's administration would become "the most open and transparent in history." By the end of the next day, Obama had issued high-profile orders pledging "a new era" and "an unprecedented level of openness" across the massive federal bureaucracy.
In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, less than an hour's drive from my childhood home, two high school girls' basketball teams just made national headlines - by trying to lose to each other.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave his first-date speech at the California Republican Party's spring convention in Sacramento earlier this month. Like a big man on campus, Christie essentially was telling the party faithful: I know you've heard some bad stuff about me, but here's why you should go out with me.
Campaign 2016 Update: Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email Account.
I was always one of those kids who got As in school.
Eric Holder's Justice Department has completed its investigation into whether Ferguson cop Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown in cold blood for racist reasons when he shot the black teenager last August.
The GOP-led House of Representatives has already achieved a historic legislative record.
Can someone explain why the "party of limited government" continues, with a straight face, to support ethanol? Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa says about the heavily subsided product, "Everything about ethanol is good, good, good."