The scandals surrounding the Obama administration come down to one common theme - that the ever-growing size and scope of our federal government gives it enormous power over virtually every aspect of our lives, power that in the wrong hands can be used to reward supporters, exact revenge and punish enemies. In education, health care, transportation, energy, disaster relief, welfare, commerce, work and salary rules, and on and on, the federal government plays an outsized role completely inconsistent with the Founding Fathers' notion of a limited government that allows maximum personal liberty.
The unfolding story of the Obama administration monitoring not just telephone records but Internet usage has drawn media coverage with adjectives like "astonishing." No doubt about it, even the pro-Obama press acknowledges it is a scandal. Still, it is laughable that the media would label him a "dictator" or discuss the "I word."
Before President Barack Obama took a question on intelligence surveillance and stepped on his message in an odd and hastily put-together event in San Jose on Friday, the president made a few scheduled remarks about California's implementation of his Affordable Care Act.
"Gentlemen do not read each other's mail," said Secretary of State Henry Stimson of his 1929 decision to shut down "The Black Chamber" that decoded the secret messages of foreign powers.
SAN JOSE - "Nobody's listening to your phone calls," President Obama proclaimed at a Friday event that was supposed to be about California's implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The specter of school shootings has brought a too-typical staple to local newspaper sections: the boys disciplined at (or suspended from) grade school for bringing a toy gun or anything resembling a gun.
Tupac Shakur, the rapper killed in an unsolved and possibly gang-related murder, once said: "I know for a fact that had I had a father, I'd have some discipline. I'd have more confidence." Tupac admitted he began running with gangs because he wanted structure and protection: "Your mother cannot calm you down the way a man can. Your mother can't reassure you the way a man can. My mother couldn't show me where my manhood was. You need a man to teach you how to be a man."
Ruth Asawa's "San Francisco Fountain" owes Apple big time. Before the tech behemoth announced its plans to plop a slick, glassy Apple Store where Levi's and the fountain plaza reside, many locals were blithely unaware of the bronze landmark. Mayor Ed Lee apparently forgot about it when he cozied up to Apple execs announcing their plans to bulldoze (in effect) and build over the northeast corner of San Francisco's Union Square.
Sen. Carl Levin was aghast.
Fifty years after poverty in America briefly became a front-burner issue on our nation's political agenda, it's time to move it off the back burner again.
In late March, Kennedy Johnston made a Facebook post about going to college to become a teacher. One of the first responses was from her big brother, U.S. Army Sgt. Michael Cable, who was serving in Afghanistan.
The bill created in secret by the Gang of Eight is an outrageous betrayal of American workers, both high-skilled and low-skilled. Claiming it is bipartisan, the drafters were Democrats and globalist Republicans.
They're hunkering down at SAC Capital, the hedge fund empire of billionaire Steven A. Cohen. Federal prosecutors have been picking off SAC's second bananas one by one, plea bargaining for information that brings them ever closer to Cohen.
No one should pretend that dealing with leaks of highly sensitive and classified national security documents is easy. I remember hearing plenty of conservatives taking to the airwaves to accuse The New York Times of nothing less than "treason" for publishing materials provided by WikiLeaks. I thought the Times publication was squarely within the bounds of First Amendment law, just as I think James Rosen was acting within the bounds of the First Amendment in the reporting that led to the government's securing a search warrant targeting him in 2010.
When you win the White House, you get to pick the team you want. Sure, that sounds simple and doesn't need any clarification, but it's clear that simplicity and clarity is lacking in Washington, D.C.
That is how one unnamed official described the military option in Iraq, on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.
At the end of the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama famously wrote that our world may be at the "end of history" where "Western liberal democracy" becomes "the final form of human government."
It has been a summer of remembrance.
Back in the 1950s, C.S. Lewis saw chastity as under attack with "all the contemporary propaganda for lust that makes people "feel that the desires we are resisting are so 'natural,' so 'healthy,' and so reasonable, that it is almost perverse and abnormal to resist them."
The (well-funded, I am sure) opposition to San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener's ballot measure to tax soda and other sugary drinks calls itself the Coalition for an Affordable City. Its website features owners of corner markets explaining how the proposed tax would hurt their businesses and expressing their bewilderment at City Hall's picking on hardworking merchants.
There is no white Republican elected official today who is coming close to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's effort to reach out to black voters.
In June, President Barack Obama sent a letter to Congress asking for help to address the surge of illegal crossings at the Texas-Mexico border. Among other items, Obama asked Congress to grant him the legal authority "to exercise discretion in processing the return and removal of unaccompanied minor children from non-contiguous countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador."
Last week, by 2-1 vote, a Washington, D.C., appellate panel ruled that the Obama administration unlawfully changed Obamacare. Meanwhile, on the same day, on the same question, a panel from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the other way. This issue is headed for the Supreme Court.
Anyone who thinks the cultural left is going to stop its political correctness with the Washington Redskins isn't reading USA Today. On the top of their Sports front page on July 22, the paper reported on activists taking a stand against "redface," championing a group called Eradicating Offensive Indian Mascotry.
The New York Times has seen the light. On Sunday, the paper editorialized in favor of an end to the federal ban on marijuana. According to Tony Newman of the Drug Policy Alliance, The Gray Lady has become the first major national newspaper to support legalizing marijuana.
When I heard our Congress critters are taking an extended vacation for all of August and part of September, I had two incongruous reactions: gratitude and anger.
The FBI's motto is "Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity." But given the FBI sting against Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow - a convicted felon who was freed from prison in 2003 because the feds got him to testify against a confederate - I suspect that a more apt motto might be "Fuggedaboutit."
The "crossfire" mentality that defines public discourse today has the obvious problem of ignoring the fact that most of us land somewhere in the middle, turning every debate into a shouting contest between the extremists who generate passion and ratings, and rarely reflecting the views of the majority in the middle. I've been saying for years that it might be just as entertaining, and certainly more productive, to see where ideological opposites find common ground. But until someone actually attempts it, we will keep spiraling down into extremism and incivility.