Whenever one of our cities gets a star turn as host of some super-sparkly event, such as a national political gathering or the Super Bowl, its first move is to tidy up - by having the police sweep homeless people into jail, out of town, or under some rug.
How can it be that with Washington simmering in scandals, with Republicans (not to mention talk-show hosts) using the "I" word (impeachment) with abandon, with calls to bring back Ken Starr (of Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky fame), President Obama's job approval rating is holding steady at around 50 percent, thank you very much?
Gov. Jerry Brown recently stepped in it when a reporter asked him about the Bay Bridge. In March, 32 of 96 key rods in the under-construction eastern span cracked after they were tightened. Dao Guv -- who, as Oakland's mayor, helped delay construction of the new span to win a tony, world-class design -- gave the wrong answer: "(Scatological stuff) happens."
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom likes to be out front on issues. As San Francisco mayor, he approved same-sex marriages in City Hall even though they weren't legal. He pushed for a first-of-its-kind ban on city pharmacies selling cigarettes. Likewise, he signed the Special City's first-in-the-nation ban on groceries giving away plastic bags.
It is that time of year again.
When you get right down to it, the political targeting and stalling of tax-exempt applications by the IRS was an effort to defund the tea party. Rick Santelli, one of the tea party founders and my CNBC colleague, was the first to make this point. I've taken it a step further: The IRS was taking the tea party out of play for the 2012 election, as it looked to avoid a repeat of 2010 and another tea party landslide.
My state of Texas seems to have an inordinate share of nincompoops in public office. But it's only fair that office holders from other states be considered before deciding which one is the nincompoopiest of all.
"The American people are weary. They don't want boots on the ground. I don't want boots on the ground. The worst thing the United States could do right now is put boots on the ground in Syria."
As a journalist, I am not supposed to admit this, but: I sympathize with the Obama administration's frustration over national security leaks. After a spate of leaks last year - notably, The Associated Press' reporting that national security officials foiled an underwear bomb 2.0 attempt last May - Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein joined Republicans to denounce the Beltway's proclivity for leaking classified information. "This has to stop," quoth DiFi. "When people say they don't want to work with the United States because they can't trust us to keep a secret, that's serious."
The Obama scandals started piling up on top of each other in the last few days. The civil servants who testified on Benghazi were heartbreaking. Then the IRS admitted a punitive agenda against tax exemptions for groups with "tea party" in the name or groups that "educate about the Constitution."
Monumental gifts to museums are coinciding with the erosion of arts programs at the nation's public schools.
Last Sept. 11, a terrorist attack left four Americans dead at the Benghazi, Libya, diplomatic mission. The next day, a State Department official wrote in an email, "The group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Sharia, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists." Days later, however, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice went on Sunday talk shows and blamed an anti-Islam video for the violence, even though others in her own department knew better.
Three young Cleveland girls missing and presumed dead turned up alive and in good health. A hero of the story is a neighbor, Charles Ramsey, a black man who helped free the girls from the home in which they were apparently imprisoned for some 10 years.
It sounded like a freedom-of-religion case when a Columbus, Texas high school relay-race team was disqualified from the state track championship because Derrick Hayes pointed heavenward after his team won the race. That would seem odd in a red state like Texas. It turned out that officials were so strict, they warned runners to make no hand gestures after the finish line. Hayes had apparently pointed forward, and then upward, and for that he was out.
Amy Meyer was curious. Then she was appalled. Then she was charged with the "crime" of using a cell phone to video what appalled her.
A big surprise from this year's elections is that American politics has become dominated by the least likely of participants: shy people.
What happens to a person when their reckless driving while under the influence alcohol kills eight people? How about if this same person then gets indicted for criminal negligence leading to the accident and for lying about vehicle maintenance records? And, on top of it all, additional federal charges of jury tampering and backroom deal making? While confinement and loss of liberty might be expected for an individual whose dependence on alcohol results in death and destruction, what happens if the "person" instead is a corporation hooked on profits?
Don't look now, but the overbearing power of America's military-industrial complex has probably snuck into your town.
SACRAMENTO - Democrats won every statewide office and a comfortable majority of the congressional delegation and legislative seats. Yet at Capitol Weekly's election postmortem confab Thursday, Republicans were giddy, and many Democrats were, well, agitated.
A good friend who lives on the East Coast lost his 28-year-old daughter in a tragic accident of carbon monoxide poisoning.
If Barack Obama owes his presidency to one thing, it was the good sense he had back in 2002 to call the Iraq War what it was: "dumb."
Tuesday was a beauteous night. Republicans won the Senate handily, picked up 14 House seats and won gubernatorial races in Massachusetts, Maryland and Illinois. Good times.
"The students at the University of California at Berkeley represent a diverse array of students from all walks of life," begins the student petition. Somehow you just know that before the end, the document will demand that the administration muzzle someone - for the sake of diversity. The spirit of far-left censors trumps exposure to novel ideas. Hence the petition, titled "Stop Bill Maher from speaking at UC Berkeley's December graduation."
Liberals have this terrible and annoying habit of congratulating themselves for their intellectual heft merely because they hold liberal views. Once this arrogant notion reigns, it's tough for liberals to acknowledge when one of their own says something so remarkably untrue and stupid that it makes you wonder just how ignorant is the liberal really.
Most years, California offers up supersize election stories - an embarrassment of riches for the opinion columnist. This year, other states are getting all the drama while California looks as staid as a bored accountant.
"I would not be inclined to make a political decision on something as serious as Ebola," Gov. Jerry Brown told the San Francisco Chronicle's Carla Marinucci on Monday. By Wednesday, California had joined New Jersey and New York in mandating 21-day quarantines for people returning from Ebola-stricken areas if they had contact with infected patients. Unlike New York, California had yet to see a confirmed Ebola case, although state health officials are aware of 19 individuals who recently traveled to an Ebola-affected country.
Grow old with me!
For some, the decision to vote 'yes' on Measure G – the Manteca Unified School Bond – may still be in question. Considering the many diverse opinions expressed in the Bulletin in recent weeks, this is understandable. Let me try to dispel any lingering doubts about voting 'Yes' on G.
The column by Sherri Stoddard, a Registered Nurse who serves on the California Nurses Association board that supports Proposition 45, was penned in favor of the ballot proposition that appeared on Tuesday's opinion page. The headline, though, incorrectly referenced the nurses supporting Proposition 46.
The nation's largest retailer is passing the cost of health care onto you.