In this very negative election season, the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns don't sweat accuracy. Even if fact-checking PolitiFact rates a 30-second spot as "pants-on-fire" false or Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler gives it four Pinocchios - his maximum rating - no worries; they don't clean up their act. As Slate's John Dickerson wrote, to the grizzled campaign operatives of 2012, "if you're not getting four Pinocchios or a pants-on-fire, you're not doing it right."
Jared Lee Loughner pleaded guilty Tuesday to 19 counts involving a 2011 shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that left six dead and 13 others, including then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, wounded. As part of the deal, Loughner will receive a sentence of life without parole. Victims' families have been spared the rigors of a trial, and prosecutors can be sure that Loughner will never again endanger the general public. Thank the federal death penalty, which applied because Loughner shot people at a federally protected political event.
Whenever a name Republican says something stupid or indefensible or arguably both, for the next three days folks will open a conversation by asking me (the only Republican they know) what I think about the latest GOP gaffe.
State Sen. Mark Leno wants California to recognize that a child can have "more than two legal parents." So he wrote a bill, SB 1476, which, he argues, wouldn't change the definition of a parent - for example, live-in lovers would not qualify - but would allow family court to recognize more than two parents only "when it is required to be in the best interest of the child." He stresses that if the bill becomes law, "none of our sponsors or supporters believe that this authority will be used very often."
The Field Poll is rarely wrong in gauging public sentiment. Its final reading prior to a major election almost never deviates more than 4 percent or 5 percent from the final vote.
Two weeks ago, Dan Cathy, CEO of Chick-fil-A, an Atlanta company famous for its juicy chicken sandwiches, appeared on "The Ken Coleman Show" to air his biblical belief that those who champion same-sex marriage are risking divine retribution upon us all.
One of the juiciest ironies of Tampa's newly-minted law to suppress protest at the upcoming Republican National Convention is that it bans the carrying of water pistols by protesters. However, thanks to Florida's nutty right-wing governor, anyone with a concealed-weapon permit is free to tote an actual bullet-firing pistol! Apparently, the authorities really do consider blood to be thicker than water.
Chick-fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy faces a consumer protest for expressing his opposition to same-sex marriage. Fair enough. Offended, the Democratic mayors of Boston, Chicago and San Francisco threatened to prevent the Georgia-based fast-food company from operating in their cities!
A combination of computerized tracking and public pressure have joined to make reporting of school dropouts in California the best in America, but those reports are still not good enough.
Get ready, America, for here comes "the next latest and greatest thing in aviation." Wow, what could it be? Maybe the airlines are going to drop all of their ridiculous ripoff fees. That'd be great!
Mitt Romney might have thought it was eminently sensible in an NBC interview in London to repeat exactly what the TV networks had already reported on security at the London Olympics, namely, that there was room for concern.
It doesn't matter who wins in November; Bill Clinton will end this year on top.
Does anybody remember, back in the depths of the recession of 1981-82, how President Ronald Reagan kept his chin up and exhorted American businesses to work hard and produce an economic recovery?
For all of the gun lovers, feel free to go buy your Glock, shotgun, hunting rifle, .22 pistol, .357 magnum or any of the other guns at your disposal, but you do not need an AK-47.
California's death penalty has been in limbo since 2006, when a federal judge stayed the execution of Michael Morales, who was sentenced to death for the brutal 1981 murder and rape of 17-year-old Terri Winchell. The judge was fearful lest the state's three-drug lethal injection protocol would cause Morales undue pain. Since then, a number of states have switched to a one-drug protocol. Why hasn't California? The answer could be that Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris don't want the death penalty to work.
Where are the peaceniks? Why aren't they marching on Capitol Hill to protest President Barack Obama's use of military force in Syria and Iraq? The San Francisco Chronicle's Kevin Fagan interviewed peace activists who told him that their ranks are numb, in part because America has been at war for more than a decade. Some even wonder whether the Islamic State is so barbaric as to merit airstrikes.
"I see the media is at it again," an acquaintance said referring to the deluge of coverage after the Ray Rice assault on his wife. True, a ton of coverage on what became a national, if not international story.
For those of you who read my last column and thought I had crossed over to the dark side, this one should tilt the world back on its proper axis.
"You'll never meet anyone who says, 'I want to be a millionaire. I think I'll start a winery,'" owner Bill Smyth tells me from his small office over the tasting room of Westover Vineyards, nestled in Palomares Canyon. Smyth has worked in a number of fields. He made some money. He bought the vineyard property when he was young. His ex-wife bought him a kit to make wine, and his labor of love turned into a small business.
The video of a Syrian captor beheading American freelance journalist James Foley "has done more damage than any ransom ever could," former Iranian hostage Sarah Shourd warned on CNN recently. Foley's parents have been vocal about their frustration in knowing that their son remained a hostage as France and other European countries paid a reported average of $3 million-plus to free their citizens. The family wants to establish an organization to provide information to other families, presumably to get around a no-ransom policy.
When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down a mere a two-game suspension for domestic violence, he took his cue from some of the very same women's groups now calling for his head.
Supervisor David Chiu wants San Francisco to become the first American city to oppose any ban on sex-selective abortions. It apparently has not occurred to him why no other city has chosen to do so.
In its wisdom (such as it is), the California Legislature passed a measure that would change the standard of sexual consent on the state's college campuses. Gov. Jerry Brown should veto this bill. If the University of California and other institutions that receive state-funded student aid want to demonstrate they have "no tolerance for any form of sexual violence" when students report rape as state Sen. Kevin de Leon has argued, then they should call the cops, not academic panels.
The bums they were. The L.A. bums they are.
It seems like yesterday. And yet, so much was different.
The strategy that President Obama laid out Wednesday night to "degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL," is incoherent, inconsistent and, ultimately, non-credible.
For the first time since 1997, the U.S. economy just added at least 200,000 jobs per month for six months running. GDP grew at a 4 percent annual clip between April and June. The percentage of Americans who describe the economy as "good" has climbed to the highest level of President Barack Obama's presidency.
By releasing the grisly videos of the beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, ISIS has altered the political landscape here and across the Middle East.
Why has there been no media interest in the police shooting of an apparently unarmed suspect in Salt Lake City?
On Aug. 24, United Airlines diverted a Newark-to-Denver flight to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport after two passengers got into an argument. It started when a 47-year-old man used a device called the Knee Defender to prevent the 48-year-old woman in front of him from reclining her seat.