While details are still emerging about Aaron Alexis, the man responsible for killing 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard, this much is already clear. This man never should have had a security clearance that allowed him to enter the Yard. And he never should have been permitted to buy a gun.
President Obama barely noticed, but there was a horrific mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday. In what has become a signature of this administration, a tone-deaf Obama pressed ahead with his plans to attack the tea party Republicans at an event marking five years since the financial crisis erupted.
Sen. Barbara Boxer had been appealing to my better instincts as she never had before. The Democrat from California provided a crucial vote in favor of a resolution sought by President Barack Obama to authorize the use of military force in Syria. Boxer voted for military force even though that position was highly unpopular among her constituents.
The California Legislature pointed a giant middle finger at Bay Area commuters by naming the western span of the Bay Bridge after San Francisco Chronicle columnist Willie Brown even though, as San Francisco's mayor, Brown unconscionably delayed reconstruction of the seismically challenged eastern span and helped drive the project's cost from $1.5 billion to $6.4 billion?
When Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana announced last Friday that he would vote against Larry Summers' putative candidacy for Fed chairman if it came before the Senate Banking Committee, he put a dagger in Summers' Fed career before it even started. Tester would have made the fourth Democratic nay vote in the committee, and it is highly unlikely that Republicans would have taken up the slack to push through a Summers nomination.
Political support for traditional marriage seemed to evaporate in the summer of 2013. The U.S. Supreme Court did not rule that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, but the homosexuals are behaving as though it did and filing lawsuits in many states to expand the court's decision, while the advocates of traditional marriage have retreated into silence.
In 2012, the federal government paid some $5 billion in direct payments to farmers of wheat, corn, barley, oats, cotton, rice, soybeans, peanuts and other crops - except the recipients cannot all be farmers. According to the Environmental Working Group, 116 of those tillers of the earth reside in San Francisco. For their farming activities, they pocketed $446,302.
Earlier this month, hell came to the tiny Christian village of Maaloula where they still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
If you cobble together every major decision that President Barack Obama has had to make since he entered the Oval Office, none has been more perplexing and difficult as the decision to strike Syria for using chemical weapons on its own people.
Sen. Barack Obama snatched the 2008 democratic nomination from Sen. Hillary Clinton for many reasons, none more important than Obama's opposition to the Iraq War.
I haven't heard such enthusiastic, downright raucous applause since Texas Gov. "Oops" Perry suggested in 2009 that his state just might withdraw from the union. Unfortunately for him, the applauders weren't Texans. They were the people of the other 49 states.
In 2007, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a congressional visit to Damascus, where she met with Syrian President Bashar Assad. "We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace," Pelosi famously proclaimed. She met with Assad in defiance of then-President George W. Bush and his efforts to isolate Syria for its role as a "state sponsor of terror."
I was just fine with the line in the sand. In a civilized world, there must be some line. If not chemical weapons, where?
Why would someone who opposes draconian federal mandatory minimum sentences oppose efforts to cut California's prison population by about 9,600 inmates? Because the federal system and the California system are two different animals.
There have to be lines.
When the news rippled out on Monday that Robin Williams had committed suicide, even I thought - for a moment - "but he had everything." As if suicide is a "choice."
Most Americans have received an authentic-looking email from a scammer, purportedly from a bank, requesting an update to the account information for official-sounding reasons.
If John Boehner is so worried about the president's executive orders, why didn't he sue George W. Bush?
"Who is responsible for the Bay Bridge?" I asked California Gov. Jerry Brown at a San Francisco Chronicle editorial board meeting in May.
The Koch brothers - the GOP megadonors and fossil fuel magnates - live in their own special world, enshrouded in the fumes emanating from their family's enormous stockpiles of wealth.
That is how one unnamed official described the military option in Iraq, on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.
At the end of the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama famously wrote that our world may be at the "end of history" where "Western liberal democracy" becomes "the final form of human government."
It has been a summer of remembrance.
Back in the 1950s, C.S. Lewis saw chastity as under attack with "all the contemporary propaganda for lust that makes people "feel that the desires we are resisting are so 'natural,' so 'healthy,' and so reasonable, that it is almost perverse and abnormal to resist them."
The (well-funded, I am sure) opposition to San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener's ballot measure to tax soda and other sugary drinks calls itself the Coalition for an Affordable City. Its website features owners of corner markets explaining how the proposed tax would hurt their businesses and expressing their bewilderment at City Hall's picking on hardworking merchants.
There is no white Republican elected official today who is coming close to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's effort to reach out to black voters.
In June, President Barack Obama sent a letter to Congress asking for help to address the surge of illegal crossings at the Texas-Mexico border. Among other items, Obama asked Congress to grant him the legal authority "to exercise discretion in processing the return and removal of unaccompanied minor children from non-contiguous countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador."