As the "fiscal cliff" looms, editorial writers and Beltway commentators have turned their sights on their favorite enemy -- tax-foe Grover Norquist's no-new-taxes pledge signed by a weighty majority of GOP members of Congress. If Republicans had not been scared into signing the pledge, the pack laments, D.C. pols would compromise, and all would be well with the world.
Once again, billionaire investor Warren Buffett urges his fellow high-on-the-hoggers to pay more in taxes. "Only in Grover Norquist's imagination," says Buffett, do taxes make much of a difference in how people invest. "So let's forget about the rich and ultra-rich going on strike and stuffing their ample funds under their mattresses if -- gasp -- capital gains rates and ordinary income rates are increased. The ultra-rich, including me, will forever pursue investment opportunities. ...
It seems hard to believe that the election was only three short weeks ago, and that even as the results were coming in proving Nate Silver (the much maligned New York Times blogger) right and the pillars of conservatism (Dick Morris, George Will and, of course, Karl Rove) completely wrong, Republicans thought they had it won and Mitt Romney had only one speech prepared.
Gov. Jerry Brown's signature was notably absent from the ballot arguments in favor of Proposition 30, the tax increase measure he pushed so hard in this fall's election.
One of the proudest progressive victories of the November 6 elections was produced by some scrappy citizens in the burg of Brecksville, Ohio, population 14,000.
The Republican strategists who confidently predicted that their candidate, Mitt Romney, would win the 2012 election are already pontificating about what Republicans must do to win in 2016. After their disastrous defeat, strategy and policy mistakes and expensive super PAC advertising that failed to win votes, why should anybody take their advice again?
Jerry Brown's signature was notably absent from the ballot arguments in favor of Proposition 30, the tax increase measure he pushed so hard in this fall's election. He was essentially responsible for its content and for the now-mooted triggered budget cuts that – barring a "Perils of Pauline"-style rescue – would have cost public schools and universities more than $6 billion over the next year alone.
Consider this headline from a Reuters article in The Huffington Post: "Raising Taxes on Rich Won't Hurt Economic Growth, CBO Says."
President Obama likes to complain about gridlock in Washington and blame Republicans for keeping him from doing his job. As president, he has the unfettered executive power to pardon individuals convicted of federal crimes or commute their sentences. Yet, while his 2008 campaign called for a review of federal mandatory minimum sentences to reduce the number of needlessly warehoused nonviolent drug offenders, Obama has pardoned a mere 22 offenders who served their sentences and commuted only one sentence. When it comes to acts of mercy, Obama has produced his own gridlock of one.
Barack Obama won his re-election fight because Americans who are committed to moving forward turned out in record numbers to vote, especially in battleground states.
The post mortems on the presidential campaign continue to pour in, the ones on the botched Romney effort the more interesting (and more depressing for those of us who supported him). President Obama was clearly vulnerable, and Mitt Romney clearly positioned to defeat him.
Thanksgiving week is a time to express gratitude and appreciation and to acknowledge what we are thankful for in our lives. Many of us have Thanksgiving routines and rituals that take us out of the everyday routine of our lives and provide a space for us to slow down, unwind, reflect and give thanks.
With the truce in the week-long Gaza war, Barack Obama is being prompted by right and left to re-engage and renew U.S. efforts to solve the core question of Middle East peace.
Like many people, I have a tendency to spend more time thinking about what's wrong than what's right, what's missing rather than what is there, what I don't have instead of what I do.
Let's see – Obama won both the popular vote and the electoral collage tally. Democrats didn't just add to their senate majority, but added such feisty, progressive new senators as Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, and Mazie Hirono. Even in the House, Dems won the national vote and gained seven seats. Plus, progressives scored victories coast to coast on ballot initiatives.
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.
Don't pick your nose (at least in public). The other day while I was walking down the street, I saw a guy doing just that. He had the index finger of his right hand up his right nostril, and he was really digging in like he was searching for gold. As I walked past, he turned to face the other way, even though I could still clearly see him as he proceeded to pop the treasure he had found right into his mouth. Super gross.
Does Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., suffer from short, medium and long-term memory loss?
I never quite understood what "nursing" really meant until the past six months, when the supposed superstar doctor who operated on me in Phoenix (One of the smartest male doctors I know told me she was the best, a woman, how wonderful; beware gender bias.) made a mess of my intestines, leaving me rather critically ill with peritonitis and unbearable pain while she went to Maui. Some very fine physicians, in California and in Arizona, tried to clean up the mess she left, but it was the nurses who took care of me.