As our children head back to school and the fall harvest begins, the rivers coming into our reservoirs slow and they empty out. Unfortunately, this past winter and spring failed to bring us the amount of water we need, and the water supply situation for the Central Valley is shaping up to be a dire one. As a community, we face great uncertainty for next year.
While pretty much everybody agrees that the U.S. tax code is a mess, nobody does anything about it. Oh, politicians talk about doing something, but mainly what they do is make it worse.
If House Republicans had somehow erased chunks of the Affordable Care Act - the employer mandate, the ability to screen who gets subsidies and the annual cap on out-of-pocket costs for a year - the Democrats would have blasted those moves as unconscionable acts of sabotage. But the GOP didn't sneak in those changes. President Barack Obama did.
After delivering a number of "economic growth" speeches this summer, President Obama has failed to inspire any confidence, falling all the way back to square one in a recent Gallup poll. Actually, make that less than square one. Gallup reported that Obama's approval rating on the economy has sunk to 35 percent in August, from 42 percent in early June.
There are numerous issues that should be labeled a national epidemic, but few are as important as the ridiculous and onerous laws on the books on the federal and state level that have led to a massive incarceration problem in the United States.
It was big news Monday when Attorney General Eric Holder told the American Bar Association in San Francisco, "Certain low-level nonviolent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs or cartels will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences."
"Sire, clear the square with gunfire or abdicate."
These days, almost every political conversation ends up with a little Hillary at the end.
The culture war has gone global.
Forbes Magazine is at it again. This time it lists Stockton on its "Dirtiest Cities in America" list. Not playing favorites, Fresno and Modesto are also included on the list.
Eric Holder, America's first African-American attorney general, and his boss, Barack Obama, the first black president, haven't been shy about pointing out racial disparities in the criminal justice system. Racial profiling? It's real, they say. State "stand your ground" laws? Obama says they don't work for minorities. Yet both have been conspicuously absent when it comes to redressing racial disparities in their own home turf, the federal government's ill-conceived war on drugs.
DEAR DIDI: I was stopped by a Lathrop police officer the other day and he proceeded to lecture me about having my dog in the back of the pickup truck. I tried to explain that I am a rancher and my dog loves being back there but he threatened to give me a ticket if I didn't listen to his lecture. My dog is my buddy and he goes everywhere with me. He would never jump out of the truck so what, exactly, is the big deal?
The Washington Post is a legend in the minds of the Washington elite, so its financial decline has caused quiet panic. As NPR media reporter David Folkenflik put it, "You think of stories like the Pentagon Papers, Watergate, these are all stories where The Washington Post led the nation's understanding, the world's understanding of some major issues."
"There have been times when they slip back into Cold War thinking," said President Obama in his tutorial with Jay Leno.
They may find it scandalous for someone to say so, but our secular liberal media are playing favorites with religion. They have a spoiled child, Islam. Journalists see Islam as a bullied, minority faith for brown people. Draw a cartoon of Mohammed with dynamite on his head, and you are the worst kind of trouble-making hater.
On March 10, eight days after The New York Times began the scandal over her private email server, Hillary Clinton assembled the press at the United Nations in New York to offer a typically legalistic and crabby press conference lasting only 21 minutes. The first-blush reaction from the pundits? That wasn't good enough. She can't expect the story to go away just from that mess.
Last year, Congress passed an amendment that barred the Department of Justice from using federal dollars to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized them. Last week, three senators proposed a measure to clean up the federal-state medical marijuana mess once and for all.
My roommates in the course of several hospital stays deserve to have their stories, or at least part of them, in print.
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.