In the days before the re-inauguration of President Obama, there have been the usual curtain raisers, with the usual suspects screaming from their respective corners about the usual stuff.
As President Barack Obama's second term commences, I thought I'd write about the things I liked in his first term. Here are five:
DEAR DIDI: I am hoping you can help solve a disagreement that my husband and I have been having. We love your column and your answer will be our 'tiebreaker' of sorts. My husband thinks our dog should spend nights outside in the yard to protect our home. I feel sorry for him and want him in the house but my husband says I baby him too much. What do you think? Caring Mom in Manteca, CA
CLARK COUNTY, Nev. - Official Washington has the collective attention span of a fruit fly. This condition is exacerbated by the Obama administration's proclivity for declaring selective events and issues to be crises that require immediate action. The problem is aggravated because the loyal opposition is in nearly total disarray, and few in the so-called mainstream media have any idea what they are talking about.
Top corporate chieftains and Wall Street gamblers want to tell Washington how to fix our national debt, so they've created a front group called "Fix the Debt" to push their agenda. Unfortunately, they're using "fix" in the same way your veterinarian uses it - their core demand is for Washington to spay Social Security, castrate Medicare and geld Medicaid.
As politicians in Washington debate whether new laws should be issued to tighten up on background checks, impose limits on assault weapons and regulate ammunition sales and the like - a debate likely to be dominated by politics - it is worth focusing on the other side of the gun question, the public health side.
Like a lot of Californians, Stockton businessman Matt Davies, 34, expected that when Barack Obama was elected in 2008, the new administration would not prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries operating under a law passed by California voters in 1996. After all, as a candidate, Obama contended that he saw federal enforcement against medical marijuana as a waste of resources.
My eyes filled with tears as I listened to the parents of the victims of the shooting in Newtown, Conn., speak out, many for the first time. They gathered to announce the founding of a nonprofit group, Sandy Hook Promise. Their purpose was to engage in the public dialogue about what they called "gun responsibility." They want something positive to come from their children's deaths.
The face of gun violence is not Sandy Hook. It is Chicago.
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
In the 20th century, only two presidents shaped new governing coalitions that outlasted them. They were the only two men to appear on five national tickets.
The State Water Resources Control Board is no stranger to controversial decisions that shape the course of nature and the quality of life in the urban world. Such is the case with the Board's recent recommendation to increase flow by 35 percent along the Merced, Tuolumne and Stanislaus rivers from Feb. 1 to June 30 each year.
"Never make an enemy by accident," housemaid Anna Bates warned her husband in the third season premiere of "Downton Abbey". That's what the housemaid's mother always told her.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials detained Roberto Galo on Wednesday morning. Galo is a legal immigrant but an unlicensed driver who, on Nov. 16, 2010, took a left turn at Harrison and 16th streets in San Francisco. His car struck law student Drew Rosenberg. Witnesses later testified that Galo then backed over Rosenberg, who died.
The New York Post headline read: "Could You Spend $500 on Food at This Bodega? A Welfare Recipient Claimed To!" A few days later, another headline: "Welfare Recipients Take Out Cash at Strip Clubs, Liquor Stores and X-Rated Shops." "They're on the dole - and watching the pole," wrote the Post. "Welfare recipients took out cash at bars, liquor stores, X-rated video shops, hookah parlors and even strip clubs - where they presumably spent their taxpayer money on lap dances rather than diapers."
You heard it here first.
Here we go again - into yet another war in a tumultuous swath of the world we still don't comprehend. For a preview of what we're stepping into in Iraq and Syria, let's remember Afghanistan.
If you believe Houston Mayor Annise Parker, then you have to believe that when lawyers for her city subpoenaed five local pastors and demanded their sermons, the episode represented an unfortunate instance of lawyer overreach, with no intent to harass or intimidate the opposition.
I know Republicans who voted for Jerry Brown in 2010. They thought he'd be like Richard Nixon going to China and stand up to public employee unions by fixing a dysfunctional pension system. They thought he'd live up to his pose as elder sage, ready to do what's best for California. After he won a return engagement as governor, Brown liked to bloviate about the need for elected officials to demonstrate "loyalty to California."
In 1492, "Columbus sailed the ocean blue" and discovered the New World. And Oct. 12 was once a celebrated holiday in America.
Growing up in Washington in the 1930s and '40s, our home was, several times, put under quarantine. A poster would be tacked on the door indicating the presence within of a contagious disease - measles, mumps, chicken pox, scarlet fever.
I'd like to think that if I got the bad news that Brittany Maynard received - terminal cancer with a prognosis of less than six months left to live - I'd be like her. I'd like to be stoic and brave. I'd like to take charge of the rest of my cruelly abbreviated life. If I were facing death at age 29, I would want to find meaning in an end come too soon.
Just in the United States, the cosmetics industry pulls in some $70 billion a year in sales of what's commonly called "makeup." But lipstick, mascara, eye shadow, and the like aren't the only kind of makeup the cosmetic giants are peddling.
Corporations are funneling money to right-wing governors who work against the interests of their customers and employees.
Practically everyone expects California Attorney General Kamala Harris to win re-election handily in November. The Democrat won 53 percent of the vote in a crowded June primary. A rising star expected to ascend someday to the governorship, perhaps a U.S. Senate seat, Harris has won the endorsement of major newspapers in the state. She's such an attractive candidate that even though it was true, President Barack Obama had to apologize last year for calling her "by far the best-looking attorney general in the country."
Rather than urge guests to leave bigger tips and thank you notes, Marriott should pay its housekeepers a living wage.
I paid less than $10,000 to earn my college degree from a top-ranked school.
I hadn't heard from my friend John in some time.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Westover Vineyards of Castro Valley. Owner Bill Smyth is preparing to shutter his winery because the California Department of Industrial Relations slapped him with $115,550 in fines, back wages and penalties for using unpaid volunteers. Those fees put Westover in the red.
A couple of weeks ago at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, several hundred people went to their feet to applaud a speech delivered by David H. Koch. The occasion was the opening of the Met's new facade on Fifth Avenue. It runs four city blocks, and is complete with new fountains, paving, lighting, landscaping and seating areas for visitors. Mr. Koch contributed the entire $65 million cost of the project, which took years to complete.