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.
"When Government seeks to use its full power, including the criminal law, to command where a person may get his or her information or what distrusted source he or she may not hear, it uses censorship to control thought. This is unlawful. The First Amendment confirms the freedom to think for ourselves."
The latest solid proof that Hollywood really can't stand traditional Christianity has arrived in an unfolding boycott of Chick-fil-A, a Georgia-based fast-food chain that's rapidly spreading franchises across America.
Can it really be a surprise that four out of five Americans have little-to-zero trust in big banks, that 62 percent of us believe corruption is widespread across Corporate America, and that three-fourths of us sense that business corruption has increased in the past three years? We have these views because we keep having their ugliness thrust in our faces.
About the tragedy in Aurora, Colo., rapper/actor Ice-T made more sense - and has a better understanding of the Second Amendment - than gun-control proponents.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper had the right idea when he refused to utter the suspected gunman's name in the Aurora multiplex theater shootings, which left 12 dead and 58 wounded. Instead of naming the alleged killer, Hickenlooper referred to him only as "Suspect A." At a prayer vigil Sunday, Hickenlooper read the names of each of the 12 people killed in the incident. After each name, the crowd repeated the refrain, "We will remember."
Photo voter ID laws, according to Attorney General Eric Holder, are a "poll tax." "Many of those without IDs," Holder recently told the NAACP, "would have to travel great distances to get them - and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them."
In January, prosecutors would not believe Eliana Lopez when she said her husband, San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, did not hurt her when he bruised her arm during a Dec. 31 argument on the dubious grounds that as a battered woman, she was effectively brainwashed to rationalize the abuse. In July, as Mayor Ed Lee has to go through the San Francisco Ethics Commission in his bid to fire the sheriff, City Hall has concocted a new reason not to listen to Lopez: She's too happy.
"Why is the modern Republican Party so opposed to allowing the rich to pay just a little bit more in taxes to help solve the debt and deficit problem in this country that they would prefer no deal at all?" Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., asked at The Brookings Institution on Monday.
Back in 2007 and 2008, it was remarkable watching Barack Obama treated to one puffball interview after another, courtesy of Steve Kroft on "60 Minutes." Kroft compared him to Abe Lincoln and oozed about his "political poetry." But it's simply irresponsible, after three and a half years of President Obama wrecking the economy, that CBS - now with anchor Charlie Rose - is still in puffery mode.
The first criterion in choosing a vice president, it is said, is that he or she must be qualified to be president.
Californians have always thought of themselves as trailblazers for the rest of the country. As the biggest state in the Union that is home to the gems of Hollywood, Silicon Valley and the world's most productive agricultural land in the Central Valley, our state has proven time and time again to be ahead of the nation.
After years and years of over-the-top stories attesting to the character, honor, integrity and moral fiber of the late Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, we now know, after reading the 267-page Penn State internal report on child predator Jerry Sandusky, that the legendary coach was nothing more than a narcissistic, arrogant coward.
To measure how our economy is doing, media outlets keep a constant eye on the Dow Jones Average. But they're like cats watching the wrong mouse hole, for the great majority of Americans have between zero and next-to-nothing in the stock market.
There are some ideas so convoluted that only an expert (or wannabe expert) could love them.
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.