There's a musicality to the whine of a highballing freight train on an open stretch of track, just as there is to the whine of an 18-wheeler barreling down the Interstate. Both have been a muse for many a songwriter. But you rarely hear a song rhapsodizing about the off-key whine of today's super-rich.
If some voters feel a sense of déjà vu as Tuesday's election nears, one reason may be the battle between the tax-raising Propositions 30 and 38, a fight with strong and ironic echoes of the historic June 1978 clash between two property tax-cutting measures, Propositions 8 and 13.
On the surface, Proposition 36 Tuesday's ballot seems like it should be an absolute slam-dunk. That's the initiative seeking to change California's landmark Three-Strikes-and-You're-Out law, the 1994 measure imposing an automatic 25-years-to-life sentence on most three-time felons.
America has always had political campaigns that dig into the muck of their opponents' personal lives, then fling any nasty nuggets of negativity they find right into the face of voters. But this year is different. Not, of course, because there's any less singling of slime, but because the campaigns are also digging into the private affairs of another political target: You.
NARAL Pro-Choice America is targeting what it calls "Obama defectors": female voters who supported Barack Obama in 2008 but now are considering voting for Mitt Romney.
It became clear early last spring that the trustees of the 23-campus California State University system just don't get it. Shuffling administrators from school to school and bringing in the occasional outsider, they began giving new college presidents salaries far higher than what predecessors had received.
"In what new ways," an "undecided voter" asked the presidential candidates during the second debate, "do you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?"
Political pundits have been warning about an October surprise that could affect the outcome of the presidential election. But this year's October surprise may have been the 9/11 murder of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, along with three other Americans, and President Obama's deceitful, cowardly response.
Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
The League of Women Voters boasts that it presents "unbiased nonpartisan information about elections, the voting process, and issues." Phyllis Loya always assumed that meant the organization believed in presenting both sides of issues to its members, but recently she discovered she was wrong.
In the final debate, liberal CBS anchorman Bob Schieffer did it right. He moderated without asserting his own political opinions. Indeed, if this was all you had as a compass, you'd never know where he leaned. It was a welcome change from the Raddatz and Crowley libfests.
President Barack Obama won the final presidential debate because it was on foreign policy, and the president's foreign policy - unlike his domestic spending - is popular with the American people.
Who are these undecided voters?
As we know, the government can't do anything right. We know this not only because a menagerie of right-wing media yackers and anti-government politicians ceaselessly bleat this message at us, but also because it's often echoed by such basso profundo media voices as the New York Times.
To all of my fellow evangelicals on the religious right, please, stop your fake proselytizing and trumpeting of biblical values if all you're going to do is run roughshod over your biblical convictions in order for your partisan views to take center stage.
If I were governor of New Jersey and really wanted to know whether my staff had any involvement whatsoever in a nasty political prank that closed lanes and gridlocked traffic on the George Washington Bridge in September as payback for the Fort Lee mayor's refusal to endorse me, I would not do what Chris Christie did. That is, wait until December and then tell staffers that if they knew anything about the bridge mess, they had one hour to inform not me but my top underling or chief counsel.
In the wars she has fought, America has often allied with regimes that represented the antithesis of the cause for which we were fighting.
Take a moment and look around you. Look up. The sky hasn't fallen, has it? People in Colorado are buying marijuana - legally - and civilization hasn't come crashing to its knees.
My wishfully thinking Democratic friends are hoping that Bridgegate will sink the presidential ambitions of "frontrunner" Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor whose independent streak and straight-talking authenticity have earned him the mostly meaningless crown three years out.
CNN's Candy Crowley seems absolutely, positively astonished that Republicans could oppose raising the minimum wage and extending unemployment benefits.
It's still a mystery how Santa Claus got it down the chimney, but Bastrop got a Christmas present boys can only dream about: a big honking, steel-clad, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) truck.
In 2014, 25 million to 30 million Americans with employer-provided health insurance are likely to lose it, thanks to Obamacare's requirement that all plans cover what Washington deems "essential benefits." Some employers will consider this unaffordable, so after their current lower-cost plans expire over the course of the year, they'll drop coverage altogether.
My cousin Ben, may he rest in peace, told me years ago that he was having terrible dreams about his house going up in flames, and the firefighter is there but can't save him because she's a woman. As the feminist lawyer in the family, I was surely to blame.