Gov. Jerry Brown recently stepped in it when a reporter asked him about the Bay Bridge. In March, 32 of 96 key rods in the under-construction eastern span cracked after they were tightened. Dao Guv -- who, as Oakland's mayor, helped delay construction of the new span to win a tony, world-class design -- gave the wrong answer: "(Scatological stuff) happens."
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom likes to be out front on issues. As San Francisco mayor, he approved same-sex marriages in City Hall even though they weren't legal. He pushed for a first-of-its-kind ban on city pharmacies selling cigarettes. Likewise, he signed the Special City's first-in-the-nation ban on groceries giving away plastic bags.
It is that time of year again.
When you get right down to it, the political targeting and stalling of tax-exempt applications by the IRS was an effort to defund the tea party. Rick Santelli, one of the tea party founders and my CNBC colleague, was the first to make this point. I've taken it a step further: The IRS was taking the tea party out of play for the 2012 election, as it looked to avoid a repeat of 2010 and another tea party landslide.
My state of Texas seems to have an inordinate share of nincompoops in public office. But it's only fair that office holders from other states be considered before deciding which one is the nincompoopiest of all.
"The American people are weary. They don't want boots on the ground. I don't want boots on the ground. The worst thing the United States could do right now is put boots on the ground in Syria."
As a journalist, I am not supposed to admit this, but: I sympathize with the Obama administration's frustration over national security leaks. After a spate of leaks last year - notably, The Associated Press' reporting that national security officials foiled an underwear bomb 2.0 attempt last May - Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein joined Republicans to denounce the Beltway's proclivity for leaking classified information. "This has to stop," quoth DiFi. "When people say they don't want to work with the United States because they can't trust us to keep a secret, that's serious."
The Obama scandals started piling up on top of each other in the last few days. The civil servants who testified on Benghazi were heartbreaking. Then the IRS admitted a punitive agenda against tax exemptions for groups with "tea party" in the name or groups that "educate about the Constitution."
Monumental gifts to museums are coinciding with the erosion of arts programs at the nation's public schools.
Last Sept. 11, a terrorist attack left four Americans dead at the Benghazi, Libya, diplomatic mission. The next day, a State Department official wrote in an email, "The group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Sharia, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists." Days later, however, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice went on Sunday talk shows and blamed an anti-Islam video for the violence, even though others in her own department knew better.
Three young Cleveland girls missing and presumed dead turned up alive and in good health. A hero of the story is a neighbor, Charles Ramsey, a black man who helped free the girls from the home in which they were apparently imprisoned for some 10 years.
It sounded like a freedom-of-religion case when a Columbus, Texas high school relay-race team was disqualified from the state track championship because Derrick Hayes pointed heavenward after his team won the race. That would seem odd in a red state like Texas. It turned out that officials were so strict, they warned runners to make no hand gestures after the finish line. Hayes had apparently pointed forward, and then upward, and for that he was out.
Amy Meyer was curious. Then she was appalled. Then she was charged with the "crime" of using a cell phone to video what appalled her.
Federal unemployment benefits for 400,000 Californians out of work since last fall recently dropped 18 percent, a $52 cut out of weekly checks that average $297. Similar cuts are rolling out in other states.
The report from the Arlington, Va., Police Department is, on its face, hardly newsworthy:
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office found its way to the front page by declaring the word "Redskins" was offensive and therefore unworthy of trademark protection under a 1946 law that proscribes trademarks for "immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter."
The first time I ever went "online" to do a search on the "World Wide Web" (yes, we used to call it that), I figured I'd pick a subject I knew a lot about and see what was there. So I typed in the word "rape" - a subject I learned about the hard way many decades ago and have been teaching and writing about for the past 30 years. To my surprise and horror, what popped up on my search were not sites aimed at providing resources or support for the victims of rape, but one horror story site ...
"Pee in a cup" is a phrase you should prepare to hear frequently this election season. A requirement that doctors be subject to random drug and alcohol testing is the curb-appeal provision in a measure that will be on the California ballot in November.
The panic that engulfed this capital after the fall of Mosul, when it appeared that the Islamist fanatics of ISIS would overrun Baghdad, has passed.
President Barack Obama, on Dec. 12, 2011, called Iraq "self-reliant and democratic." He praised that country, calling it a "new Iraq that's determining its own destiny - a country in which people from different religious sects and ethnicities can resolve their differences peacefully through the democratic process." Obama said, "I have no doubt that Iraq can succeed."
When Brown v. Board of Education, the 9-0 Warren Court ruling came down 60 years ago, desegregating America's public schools, this writer was a sophomore at Gonzaga in Washington, D.C.
As the Islamic warriors of ISIS rolled down the road from Mosul, John McCain was an echo of French Premier Paul Reynaud, when word reached Paris that Rommel had broken through in the Ardennes:
Now that our cultural elites feel they have sufficiently educated the public on the virtues of gays and lesbians, it's time to drill down to the next level. Here comes transgenderism. Time magazine placed "Orange Is the New Black" star Laverne Cox (born Charles Cox) on the cover as the face of "The Transgender Tipping Point: America's Next Civil Rights Frontier."
That's how many people it took to bring down House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, doom immigration reform and leave all but the most tea-sodden Republicans quaking.
"I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical."
There are two ways to interview potential presidents. You can pepper them with tough questions, and why not? They're going to apply for the job of Leader of the Free World. Hillary Clinton is used to the other way: Shameless pap. Softballs to be knocked out of the park.
One of the hardest things to understand about the whole Bowe Bergdahl exchange is how the White House could be so hopelessly tone deaf as to not understand what was going to happen next.
Have you heard about Domino's Pizza CEO J. Patrick Doyle? He pocketed $43 million over the last three years running an operation that stiffs low-wage workers and rakes in taxpayer subsidies.
For 10 days, Americans have argued over the wisdom of trading five Taliban senior commanders for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
No matter how small the haul, a thief is a thief, right?