I hadn't heard from my friend John in some time.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Westover Vineyards of Castro Valley. Owner Bill Smyth is preparing to shutter his winery because the California Department of Industrial Relations slapped him with $115,550 in fines, back wages and penalties for using unpaid volunteers. Those fees put Westover in the red.
A couple of weeks ago at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, several hundred people went to their feet to applaud a speech delivered by David H. Koch. The occasion was the opening of the Met's new facade on Fifth Avenue. It runs four city blocks, and is complete with new fountains, paving, lighting, landscaping and seating areas for visitors. Mr. Koch contributed the entire $65 million cost of the project, which took years to complete.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to share his long-repressed feelings about a traumatic event. "It was," the Kentucky Republican confided, grim-faced, "the worst day of my political life."
DEAR DIDI: Our four year old pit mix will play with toys if we interact with them but if we throw the toy and ask him to fetch he loses all interest and walks away. He runs into things around the house fairly often so we are wondering if he has a balance or coordination issue. How PETS we work on this? We adopted him when he was a year old and he is so calm and such a joy to us. Our other issue, unrelated, is that he growls intensely at anyone that comes to our home even if ...
"The power to declare war, including the power of judging the causes of war, is fully and exclusively vested in the legislature."
At last month's California gubernatorial debate, Republican hopeful Neel Kashkari praised Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris for using their discretion not to appeal a court ruling that overturned the state's same-sex marriage ban. Kashkari then chided both Democrats for failing to use that same discretion when they appealed the Vergara v. California court decision. The suit is named after Beatriz Vergara, one of nine students who sued to eliminate the state's teacher tenure system.
Just when you thought the plutocratic profiteers running America's exploitative, low-wage economy couldn't get any more clueless, self-serving, pious, and mingy - along comes Lady Maria of Marriott, magnanimously saying: "Let them eat tips."
In his U.N. address, President Obama listed a parade of horrors afflicting our world: "Russian aggression in Europe," "terrorism in Syria and Iraq," rapes and beheadings by ISIL, al-Qaida, Boko Haram.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Lawrence Silveira is a Sierra High graduate now living in Chicago. In this column, penned on Sept. 5, he writes about the differences between the two locales, and what he's learned in his first few weeks at Columbia College.
"Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains."
Here's an unusual super-rich guy with a strange message for his fellow 1-percent-of-the-1-percenters.
There's a photo-word montage on the Internet in which a little boy, presumably from Africa, looks skeptically at a woman who is apparently from somewhere else. The boy asks, "You mean to tell me you have so much clean water, that you (poop) in it?"
Where are the peaceniks? Why aren't they marching on Capitol Hill to protest President Barack Obama's use of military force in Syria and Iraq? The San Francisco Chronicle's Kevin Fagan interviewed peace activists who told him that their ranks are numb, in part because America has been at war for more than a decade. Some even wonder whether the Islamic State is so barbaric as to merit airstrikes.
"I see the media is at it again," an acquaintance said referring to the deluge of coverage after the Ray Rice assault on his wife. True, a ton of coverage on what became a national, if not international story.
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.
The brilliant actor Benedict Cumberbatch is in hot water for getting his words wrong. Appearing on Tavis Smiley's show, the Oscar-nominated star of "The Imitation Game" took a strong stand in favor of greater diversity in Hollywood.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters descend on Washington every January to "March for Life," protesting the horror of more than a million abortions in America every year. Every year the "news" outlets report next to nothing, even when their reporters are there documenting the event as their cameras film it.
The Super Bowl is well timed. It comes mid-winter, a month after our New Year's resolutions begin deflating, when the market is teetering, our finances are squeezed, and the collections agencies calling day and night. For those who were fortunate to make some income last year, the 1099's or W-2s arrive, and we brace ourselves to face off with the IRS.
So why is it that while other states are now enjoying gas prices of less than $2 per gallon, California is still paying higher prices?
First lady Michelle Obama made an important statement when she showed up in Saudi Arabia with her husband Tuesday to mourn the death of King Abdullah and meet successor King Salman. Though the first lady dressed in a fashion respectful of Saudi custom - in black pants and a long, loose jacket that fully covered her arms and legs - she did not don a headscarf. Saudi women do not have that choice. Thus, the first lady made a fashion statement that sent a politely assertive message to the all-male Saudi delegation.