There are occasional elections where voters are not asked to decide very much – as in last June's primary, where the presidential candidates had been determined beforehand and the propositions aroused few emotions.
There's a musicality to the whine of a highballing freight train on an open stretch of track, just as there is to the whine of an 18-wheeler barreling down the Interstate. Both have been a muse for many a songwriter. But you rarely hear a song rhapsodizing about the off-key whine of today's super-rich.
If some voters feel a sense of déjà vu as Tuesday's election nears, one reason may be the battle between the tax-raising Propositions 30 and 38, a fight with strong and ironic echoes of the historic June 1978 clash between two property tax-cutting measures, Propositions 8 and 13.
On the surface, Proposition 36 Tuesday's ballot seems like it should be an absolute slam-dunk. That's the initiative seeking to change California's landmark Three-Strikes-and-You're-Out law, the 1994 measure imposing an automatic 25-years-to-life sentence on most three-time felons.
America has always had political campaigns that dig into the muck of their opponents' personal lives, then fling any nasty nuggets of negativity they find right into the face of voters. But this year is different. Not, of course, because there's any less singling of slime, but because the campaigns are also digging into the private affairs of another political target: You.
NARAL Pro-Choice America is targeting what it calls "Obama defectors": female voters who supported Barack Obama in 2008 but now are considering voting for Mitt Romney.
It became clear early last spring that the trustees of the 23-campus California State University system just don't get it. Shuffling administrators from school to school and bringing in the occasional outsider, they began giving new college presidents salaries far higher than what predecessors had received.
"In what new ways," an "undecided voter" asked the presidential candidates during the second debate, "do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?"
Political pundits have been warning about an October surprise that could affect the outcome of the presidential election. But this year's October surprise may have been the 9/11 murder of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, along with three other Americans, and President Obama's deceitful, cowardly response.
Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
The League of Women Voters boasts that it presents "unbiased nonpartisan information about elections, the voting process, and issues." Phyllis Loya always assumed that meant the organization believed in presenting both sides of issues to its members, but recently she discovered she was wrong.
In the final debate, liberal CBS anchorman Bob Schieffer did it right. He moderated without asserting his own political opinions. Indeed, if this was all you had as a compass, you'd never know where he leaned. It was a welcome change from the Raddatz and Crowley libfests.
President Barack Obama won the final presidential debate because it was on foreign policy, and the president's foreign policy - unlike his domestic spending - is popular with the American people.
Who are these undecided voters?
As we know, the government can't do anything right. We know this not only because a menagerie of right-wing media yackers and anti-government politicians ceaselessly bleat this message at us, but also because it's often echoed by such basso profundo media voices as the New York Times.
Of course Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg is right to point out that "bossy," the other B-word, is often used to discourage girls - and later women - from becoming leaders. "Words like bossy send a message: don't raise your hand or speak up," says the website of her "Ban Bossy" campaign. "By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys - a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead."
Even though it was in Burlingame, one might have expected the California Republican Party's weekend convention to feel a bit like the last days of Pompeii. The Dems hold every statewide office and control both houses of the Legislature. Still, GOP Chairman Jim Brulte managed to halt an orgy of panic.
The other day, this story hit the New Media. It's one the Old Media will simply never report.
The homeownership rate is declining while rents rise and hedge funds snap up thousands of foreclosed homes.
In the last stanza of "The Battle of Blenheim," Robert Southey writes:
Medical science has long known that the optic nerve runs from the retina of our eyeballs to the visual cortex of our brains, letting us see what's going on around us.
Though Barack Obama is widely regarded as a weak president, is the new world disorder really all his fault?
It didn't take very long for the smiling sports fan cheering in the Olympic stands to revert to his true nature. I'm referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the former KGB leader whose idea of diplomacy is sending in the troops.
"It is time to give America a raise," President Barack Obama proclaimed in support of his proposal to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2016.
In assessing the motives and actions of Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton compared them to Adolf Hitler's. Almost always a mistake.
Sometimes, a news story can be so crammed with irony that it boggles the mind. Consider just the headline on one such story that ran recently in my town's daily paper: "Man gets 10 years for defrauding banks."
Former IRS official Lois Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right Wednesday not to incriminate herself when she testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the IRS targeting of tea party groups.
A few weeks ago, the woman next to me on a Southwest flight from Los Angeles to San Jose said she was going north to have her hair done. For a moment, I indulged myself. Imagine a life where you have the freedom to get on a plane on a Thursday to have your hair done. I felt self-righteous and hardworking, for at least the 90 seconds that elapsed before the woman told me the whole truth. She was also going north to tend to the garden she and her family planted at the site where her 17-year-old son drove ...
If a teenager were zipping around Amazon.com looking for "a reliable guide to the turbulent physical and social transitions of adolescence," would that child want to first consult a 76-year-old grandmother who's had three unsuccessful marriages?
OK, climate change deniers. This has gone too far.