No, this is not Watergate or Iran-Contra.
I hate Apple. There was a time when I would look at my iPhone, and my heart would skip a beat. With its stylish white-and-gray cover, it felt like a luxury car I could hold in my hot little hand. It told me things I didn't know. It told me how to get where I wanted to go. It was exciting. It purred cute little noises that let me know I was wanted, desirable, in demand.
Whenever one of our cities gets a star turn as host of some super-sparkly event, such as a national political gathering or the Super Bowl, its first move is to tidy up - by having the police sweep homeless people into jail, out of town, or under some rug.
How can it be that with Washington simmering in scandals, with Republicans (not to mention talk-show hosts) using the "I" word (impeachment) with abandon, with calls to bring back Ken Starr (of Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky fame), President Obama's job approval rating is holding steady at around 50 percent, thank you very much?
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.
The president's request for the authorization to use military force against the Islamic State has landed in a Congress as divided as the country.
Old songs occasionally need to be refreshed with updated verses.
"A steady patriot of the world alone,
President Barack Obama inserted a jarring note in his speech to the annual Prayer Breakfast by insulting Christians with an inappropriate reference to the Crusades and charging that people "committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ."
How about this year's Super Bowl, huh?
What happened to California's death penalty? There has not been an execution since 2006, when a federal judge ruled against the state's three-drug lethal injection protocol. In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld three-drug executions. It didn't matter. Though as candidates Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris - who both personally oppose capital punishment - promised to uphold the law, in real life they've let things slide. Fed up, two men related to murder victims have filed suit to push the state to carry out the law.
Kim Gunoo is a 15-year-old South Korean boy who has lived with perpetual diarrhea since birth.
If the most frequently dialed federal agency in America can't even answer two-thirds of the millions of phone calls it gets, should the government cut its budget?
Seeing clips of that 22-minute video of the immolation of the Jordanian pilot, one wonders: Who would be drawn to the cause of these barbarians who perpetrated such an atrocity?
This year marks the 102nd anniversary of the birth of Woody Guthrie, and in these hard times of tinkle-down economics, we sure could use some of his hard-hitting musical stories and inspired lyrical populism.
Life is short, so don't spend it beating yourself up.
I believe that parents should vaccinate their children. Because children are vulnerable, the media have a responsibility to inform parents about the risks involved when they don't vaccinate their children.
"Many people were inconvenienced by the Montgomery bus boycotts. Do you think Rosa Parks should pay restitution for that?" Mollie Costello hectored the Bay Area Rapid Transit board at a recent hearing. Costello is one of the Black Friday 14 - 14 protesters arrested Nov. 28 for shutting down the West Oakland BART station and four of five transit lines for three hours to protest the killing of unarmed black men by police officers.
Old songs occasionally need to be refreshed with updated verses.
I recently mentioned in a column on renewable energy that solar power could generate half of the world's electricity by 2050. I cited the International Energy Agency as my source.