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.
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.
No matter how small the haul, a thief is a thief, right?
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?
On Saturday, Bowe Bergdahl was a hero, and the five members of the Taliban being freed in exchange for him were the worst of the worst.
Edward Snowden is trying to set the record straight about what exactly he was doing before he blew the whistle on widespread government snooping.
You've got a Nunn running in Georgia, a Pryor in Arkansas and a Landrieu in Louisiana.
The problem with the U.S. Veterans Affairs giving inferior and delayed care to veterans is a good window into the future of Obamacare. Both the VA and Obamacare suffer the endemic problems of a government-run single-payer system (aka socialism) - no choice of doctors or hospitals, no insurance companies, broken promises, lengthy waits and bureaucratic cover-ups.
"We needed to get him out of there, essentially to save his life."
As we know, the barons of Wall Street haven't hesitated to raid our public treasury and haul off trillions of dollars worth of government bailouts and special tax breaks to subsidize their "free market" ventures.
Elliot Rodger's story is not one of an untreated, mentally ill, white mass-killer who illegally acquired fully automatic "assault weapons." This mixed white and Asian 22-year-old bought his firearms legally, did not use a long-arm or "high-capacity" weapon and had been in therapy since the age of 8. Half his murder victims were killed by knife. Several of the injured were run over by Rodger's car.
In these trying times of health care austerity, it reaffirms one's faith in humanity to learn that many hospitals are now going the extra mile to provide top quality care for all.
On Memorial Day weekend, scores of thousands of bikers arrived here for their annual Rolling Thunder tribute to America's veterans, especially those lost in our wars or left behind.
First, Wall Street's government bailout restored the banksters who wrecked our economy to full prosperity. Now, it's paying off very handsomely for the bank overseers who orchestrated the bailout.
How is it possible that the FBI agent who shot and killed an associate of a suspected Boston Marathon bomber has been pocketing more than $50,000 annually in disability benefits since he retired as an Oakland, California, police officer in 2004 at age 31?
The VA problem is not Shinseki; it's socialism. The Veterans Affairs health care system is completely government run. It is a pure single-payer program. National Review Editor Rich Lowry calls it "an island of socialism in American health care." He is right. I've been arguing this all week.