If Tuesday's argument before the Supreme Court is any indication, a Michigan law prohibiting "preferential treatment" is on its way to being upheld by the United States Supreme Court. The law was held unconstitutional last year by a panel of judges on the United States Court of Appeals because, in their view, the primarily white electorate was taking away from minorities the benefits of an admissions policy that supported racial diversity in the state college and university system.
What do you call waiting for the end of a partial government shutdown while waiting to see if Congress raises the debt limit while waiting to see if Bay Area Rapid Transit workers strike and Alameda-Contra Costa Transit workers join them? Waiting for the apocalypses? Or: Bargaining bad.
A national network reporter, during an interview about about the government shutdown, actually told me: "Democrats believe government should do some things. Republicans don't believe government should be doing anything." Where had we heard that characterization of the GOP?
Some aspects of American agriculture are quite odd. For example, to meet a farmer these days, you don't need to venture out to the hinterland. Thousands of our farmers are city slickers.
As video games grow ever more violent and realistic, the latest sign of "progress" is the arrival of female characters you can take into combat in the latest version of the war game "Call of Duty."
The Republican Party is paying a steep price for the House Republicans' decision to follow Sen. Ted Cruz's self-destructive crusade to partially shut down the government in a reckless gambit to defund Obamacare.
The Democrats are chanting that Republicans must fully fund Obamacare because it is the law of the land, passed by Congress, signed by the president and upheld by the Supreme Court. Therefore, they say, it must be obeyed and can't be altered by Republicans who want to defund it.
The fast-food chain swears it will offer plenty of healthy choices at all its restaurants but not
Actually, as best I can tell, it's not nuts: The FDA folks who are in charge of inspecting nut factories aren't working. Did someone say salmonella? Yes, we have a chicken problem, and it's not clear whether those folks are working, either. Apparently, the CDC has recalled some people to deal with salmonella, but flu is another matter. Seafood and produce from outside the country? That appears to be a no. Stay away from national parks. Waiting on a home loan? Wait. Small-business loan? Nope.
The founts of wisdom on the Affordable Care Act spent the past year anguishing over whether "young invincibles" - young adults with low medical costs and no health coverage - would buy policies under the act. If young adults instead chose to pay the $95 fine, experts predicted, Obamacare would falter.
Never before has an American president threatened and risked the U.S. economy and financial markets the way Barack Obama has in recent days. For his own narrow political ends, Obama and his minions have actually accused the Republican party of deliberately provoking a Treasury debt default because they don't agree with the Obama position on the continuing budget resolution and the debt ceiling.
Hey there, Mr. Speaker.
The feud between Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and David Vitter, R-La., doesn't have the import of the federal government shutdown, but it does shine a light on the Beltway's partisan rancor. If there is a lesson for Washington politicos from this mud fight, then it is this: Don't try to be clever. There will be blowback.
Somewhere in America, author and historian Taylor Branch is sitting back with a huge grin on his face, telling anyone who passes by, "I told ya so."
On the same day, CNN and NBC both dropped their plans to make movies about Hillary Clinton. Interestingly, it looks like a win both for the Clintons and for RNC chair Reince Priebus, who boldly told the two networks that they wouldn't be moderating any GOP presidential debates in 2015 or 2016 with those promotional films in the pipeline.
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.
Does Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., suffer from short, medium and long-term memory loss?