There is a rule in Politics 2013 that's evident in the flap about a White House aide's maybe threatening or not threatening Washington Post veteran reporter Bob Woodward. The rule: The more superficial the brouhaha the bigger its impact.
"Why did the Soviet Union disintegrate? Why did the Soviet Communist Party collapse? An important reason was that their ideals and convictions wavered," China's new leader, Xi Jinping, told a closed meeting of party elite in Guangdong province.
"You've got African Americans; you've got Hispanics; you've got a bag full of money. Does that tell you - a light bulb doesn't go off in your head and say, 'This is a drug deal'?"
When Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., met with the San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board last week, she said reasonable people could pass a bill to apply $85 billion in sequester cuts more surgically. Too bad she's a member of Congress.
In the age of rapidly shortening attention spans and the mass media hopping from one story to the next, it is fairly remarkable that the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, one year ago Tuesday, continues to resonate in the consciousness of many Americans.
The Obama administration is whipping up hysteria over the sequester budget cuts and their impact on the economy, the military, first providers, and so forth and so on. Armageddon. But if you climb into the Congressional Budget Office numbers for 2013, you see a much lighter and easier picture than all the worst-case scenarios being conjured up by the administration.
In its wisdom - and yes, I am being ironic - the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco issued a ruling Tuesday that revives a California inmate lawsuit to force the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to hire a paid, full-time Wiccan chaplain. Oddly, the three-judge panel found that the complaint "did not contain sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory under the First Amendment." Nonetheless, the court overturned a federal judge's 2011 dismissal of the lawsuit.
Turning your lawn into something more beautiful and useful would save time and money while curbing pollution and water usage.
The Obama administration's assault on the Second Amendment in reaction to Newtown is not a serious solution. It's a Band-Aid on cancer. The NRA's call for armed guards in every school also misses the point. When is anyone going to get serious? The problem is violence, a violence of monstrous and horrific proportions that has infected America's popular culture.
If President Barack Obama, the Republican House and the Democratic Senate cannot cut $85 billion from this year's $3.8 trillion budget without laying off first responders, tying up airport security lines and furloughing food safety inspectors, what good are they?
At what point will the public tire of liberal journalists lamenting that the Republican Party is overwhelmingly white and thrilled about it? They've been drawing that cartoon so long surely they'll eventually run out of ink. They love their 2012 narrative that every non-white group is rushing to Obama and the left, and they want to keep it that way.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. The Ronald Reagan amnesty of 1986 was a conspicuous failure, and a virtually identical plan failed in 2007 when it was pushed by John McCain, Ted Kennedy and George W. Bush.
Most big retail chains treat their employees as nothing but a drain on profits.
My new book, "Dear Father, Dear Son," talks about the No. 1 social problem in America - children growing up without fathers.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein began her war on allergy and cold sufferers in 2005. In an effort to prevent small-time dealers from buying allergy and cold drugs and cooking them into methamphetamine, she pushed through legislation requiring consumers to show identification before purchasing products with pseudoephedrine - otherwise known as the good allergy drugs, known only to those who know enough to ask for them.
Imagine a political campaign against environmentalists that's so negative, so ridiculously slanted and downright dirty, that it actually repulsed executives of some of America's biggest fracking corporations.
Welcome to Hollywood, where dreams become real - and where logic, reason and economics 101 become dreams.
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.