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.
To all of my fellow evangelicals on the religious right, please, stop your fake proselytizing and trumpeting of biblical values if all you're going to do is run roughshod over your biblical convictions in order for your partisan views to take center stage.
When actress Patricia Arquette won an Oscar, she pled for "wage equality" for women: "To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen in this nation: We have fought for everybody else's equal rights. It's our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America."
"Do the crime, do the time," goes the old saying.
"I am under 'investigation,'" professor Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado Boulder posted on his blog Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Hillary Clinton addressed the Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women. The former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state comes to the Bay Area at a time when I hear more people, on the left and the right, cringing at the prospect of Clinton's heading the Democratic ticket next year - and, worse, squaring off against Jeb Bush in a Bush-Clinton rerun. To many, a Clinton nod has the grim inevitability of death and taxes.
I can't tell you how many times I've had out-of-towners tell me they think San Francisco is a breathtakingly beautiful city - so why is it that City Hall hasn't done more about baseball pitchers chewing tobacco at city ballparks? No, wait. I can tell you. I've never heard that. I have heard countless complaints from tourists and locals about homeless people sprawled on sidewalks, the stink of the city and the creepiness of walking downtown while navigating around urine puddles, feces and used hypodermic needles.
The safest bet you can possibly make at the beginning of a presidential election cycle is that the "objective" national media will savage the Republican contenders with "investigative" journalism. Not just one Republican contender, but all the Republican contenders.
Back in 1987, this writer was invited by friends to advise them on a press conference they had called to oppose President Reagan's signing of an INF treaty to remove all nuclear missiles from Europe.
The times they are a-changin'. Last week, a Republican congressman from Orange County, California, joined Oakland medical marijuana dispenser Steve DeAngelo to urge President Barack Obama, a Democrat who started out as a critic of the war on drugs, to curb his Department of Justice. They want Obama to make his prosecutors stop trying to shut down honest marijuana establishments in states that have legalized medical marijuana. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher and the left-leaning DeAngelo have found common cause in calling out one area in which the federal government can and should do less.
The people of Chicago are grappling with a big question that people in nearly every urban place face: Can anyone really govern such a sprawling, brawling city?
When Republicans challenged Obamacare in the courts, they sought to overcome the hurdle of persuading the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a program passed by Congress and enacted by a president. The legal challenge by Texas and 25 other states to the Obama administration's executive actions on immigration is different. Congress never passed a Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, to grant legal status to some 5 million immigrants. President Barack Obama himself never signed what his aides call an "executive action"; Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson takes that honor ...
After years of debt, deficits and budget cuts, it may come as a surprise to learn that our state government is flush with cash. But you wouldn't know it by the talk of tax increases coming out of Sacramento.
The other day I built my first snowman. It was cold and a little rainy and we didn't have the stereotypical carrot nose or corncob pipe to adorn our new friend with, but it was something of a success. It had branches for arms and I even used my hat and glasses to make him look cool - if a snowman can get any 'cooler'.
The headline that caught my attention on Presidents Day could not have been starker, colder: "Intense Republican Hate Is Skewing Obama Polls."
President Barack Obama committed the ultimate political blunder the other day. He blurted out the truth.
The University of California Student Association has approved a resolution to direct UC regents to divest financially of the governments of Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, Sri Lanka and the United States. "UC students did not give consent to invest in governments engaged in violence against others," proclaimed the Resolution Toward Socially Responsible Investment at the University of California, targeting the above countries for human rights violations. The motion - which passed with nine yes votes, one no vote and five abstentions - faulted the U.S. government for conducting drone strikes abroad, as well as the nation's high ...