There are certain elections that make you want to wash your hands before voting. And that usually has something to do with the candidates.
My friends from outside of Los Angeles are horrified. "Donald Sterling is a pig?" they say with surprise. "A racist, ignorant, loud-mouthed fool?" And Jewish, to boot. This is not, my mother would have said, good for the Jews.
A poll released last week reported that 7 percent of American journalists say they are Republicans. The survey also found that the news force is aging, having a median age of 47. And 62 percent of journalists are men. A mere 8.5 percent of full-timers are minorities. Less than 1 in 4 are "very satisfied" with their job. In short, the profession that dubbed the Republican Party a refuge for "angry white men" is teeming with angry white men.
First the censorious left went after Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born critic of Islam's treatment of women, after Brandeis University had invited her to receive an honorary degree. Bowing to political correctness, Brandeis rescinded the invitation.
In August of 2011, the former child actor Corey Feldman made a stunning assertion to ABC News: "I can tell you that the No. 1 problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia. That's the biggest problem for children in this industry ... It's the big secret." The rest of the media said nothing.
It tells you how completely California has become a one-party state that practically no one in Sacramento believes that a Republican can beat Gov. Jerry Brown in November. But GOP big shots think it is very important which Republican loses to Brown, 76, in November - former Treasury official Neel Kashkari or Assemblyman Tim Donnelly.
They're back. they're rested. they're ready!
"What Would America Fight For?"
In March 2006, CBS News announced that President George W. Bush had stumbled into a "record low" approval rating of 34 percent. All the other networks jumped on the poll. CNN was reporting the number every hour on the hour. The survey confirmed their suspicions. The wheels on the Bush presidency had come off.
"Dude, this was, like, two years ago." Thus spake former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor on Thursday after Fox News Channel anchorman Bret Baier asked him whether he had been involved in changing talking points to prepare then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice for Sunday talk shows in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi, Libya, attacks that left four Americans dead. Vietor explained that he should not be expected to remember something as "mundane" as "the process of editing talking points."
That's what the Simon Wiesenthal Center called the assignment given to eighth-grade students in Rialto, Calif., to research and write an argumentative essay about whether the Holocaust actually happened or was "merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth."
Two years ago, Delta College was facing the prospect of closing its doors to summer school because of possible state revenue reductions. State budget cuts caused the college to limp through the recession, slashing courses, and losing faculty/staff positions through retirements. We had little operational funding to hire replacements. Then California voters passed Proposition 30 in November 2012, creating a five-year tax increase that staved off massive budget cuts and set a steadier course for higher education in California and the San Joaquin Delta Community College District.
Late April didn't just bring flocks of tourists to Washington. It's when hundreds of members of the National Restaurant Association - a.k.a. the "other NRA" - swarm Capitol Hill for two intensive days of lobbying.
Their views are vile, despicable, shameful, pathetic and hurtful, but we should all be thankful that Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling didn't hide their true feelings about race.
News reports this week were filled with lamentations from death penalty opponents about the messy and unnecessarily painful execution of Oklahoma's Clayton Lockett. As Andrew Cohen wrote in The Atlantic, Oklahoma corrections officials "were using an untested mix of lethal drugs, never previously used in that dosage combination, obtained through secret means, which precluded the possibility of oversight from attorneys or medical officials on the quality of the drugs. They were warned by medical experts, and asked by defense attorneys, to open up the process to review - by the courts, by doctors, by some members of the public. Yet ...
Welcome to Hollywood, where dreams become real - and where logic, reason and economics 101 become dreams.
Radical activists in the gay community have put pedal to the metal to force gay acceptance from Christians - making not only their position but also their tactics anti-Christian. They are deliberately targeting the Christian wedding industry - the cakemakers, the caterers, the quaint bed-and-breakfast owners, and the like. They are headhunting Christians who refuse their business on moral grounds by slapping them with lawsuits or "human rights" complaints.
While Hillary Clinton hates doing Sunday shows - as we remember from the weekend after Benghazi - she did allow her close friend Gov. Terry McAuliffe to appear on "Meet the Press" on April 19. Jaws dropped when NBC host Chuck Todd threw him a real Russert-like hardball, quoting from his 2007 memoir "What A Party!"
This tax season, America's billionaires are toasting you, the ordinary taxpayer.
San Francisco is foodie heaven. If you want to eat out, you will never lack for options. That's the plus side. On the downside, Ess Eff menus are getting so precious they take the fun out of eating.
The economy has been in a tepid, soft, slow recovery for the past five-and-a-half years. It's the weakest rebound in generations. The Commerce Department's revision of fourth-quarter GDP shows that nothing much has changed. Over the past year, real economic growth registered 2.4 percent, slightly higher than the recovery average. It ain't much.
The Republican rout in the Battle of Indianapolis provides us with a snapshot of the correlation of forces in the culture wars.
My friend Julia died as we knew she would. Cancer had ravaged her body for a decade. She no longer could breathe. She was at home, under hospice care, when she asked for a dose of morphine that she knew would kill her but also keep her final moments free of pain.
The assisted-suicide movement is the rare self-proclaimed civil rights movement that exists to cater to the wishes of affluent Americans. Last week, the California Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on SB 128, a bill to legalize assisted suicide in the state. (Proponents don't like the word suicide, so they call the measure the "End of Life Option Act.") Supporters talk of their fear of medical personnel's prolonging their lives, of pain and lack of autonomy; opponents fear that the bill's passage would represent a callous act of cultural abandonment of the sick and disabled.
More than 30 years ago, conservatives managed to defeat the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, which would have added "sex" to the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection, by frightening women into believing that it would outlaw separate bathrooms for men and women. In the years since, the courts have effectively done what Congress couldn't, prohibiting discrimination in virtually every aspect of American life - except, of course, bathrooms, which never were really at issue.
Rand Paul's entry into the 2016 Republican presidential primary is good for the GOP. I won't proclaim that Paul, 52, has the gravitas or character to occupy the Oval Office - that remains to be seen - but I do believe that all the other Republican hopefuls should watch and learn from Kentucky's junior senator. His take on issues could make independents and Democrats take a second look at a party where they have not felt welcome.
Just last month, Apple chief executive Tim Cook made headlines when he wrote a piece in The Washington Post, panning Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act as "very dangerous." Apple, Cook wrote, does not believe in discrimination and strives to "do business in a way that is just and fair." This month, the San Francisco Chronicle's Wendy Lee reported, Apple fired some construction workers at Apple Campus 2 in January because they had been convicted of felonies or face felony charges. Just and fair? Hardly.
The debate about a "religious freedom" law being considered in Indiana has been making national news. The issue is whether the law would allow discrimination against gays. There has been a storm of protest both from inside and outside the state - with leading businesses threatening and threatened by a proposed boycott of the state; Silicon Valley, for the first time I can remember, taking effective political action; and Indiana legislators tripping over themselves to make sure everyone understands that the law is in no way intended to immunize or condone discrimination.
Imagine a government energy program that is such a disaster that the Environmental Working Group and the American Petroleum Institute both oppose it. The anti-poverty group ActionAid USA wants to get rid of it, as does the pro-business Competitive Enterprise Institute. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wants to end it. So does Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. They're both sponsors of the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015.
Don't pick your nose (at least in public). The other day while I was walking down the street, I saw a guy doing just that. He had the index finger of his right hand up his right nostril, and he was really digging in like he was searching for gold. As I walked past, he turned to face the other way, even though I could still clearly see him as he proceeded to pop the treasure he had found right into his mouth. Super gross.