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Killing in South Carolina

Why was Walter Scott running away from a policeman who tried to stop him for a broken taillight? The media are trying to make a South Carolina policeman’s killing of a black man, Walter Scott, another sensational case of racism, but the media have missed the point of the tragedy.

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Posted: apr. 25, 2015 12:37 a.m. | | Killing in South Carolina Comments 0 Comments

Hairball that gagged a fracker

Imagine a political campaign against environmentalists that’s so negative, so ridiculously slanted and downright dirty, that it actually repulsed executives of some of America’s biggest fracking corporations.

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Posted: apr. 25, 2015 12:18 a.m. | | Hairball that gagged a fracker Comments 0 Comments

Actors & Economics 101

Welcome to Hollywood, where dreams become real — and where logic, reason and economics 101 become dreams.

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Posted: apr. 24, 2015 1:05 a.m. | | Actors & Economics 101 Comments 0 Comments

Christian wedding businesses

Radical activists in the gay community have put pedal to the metal to force gay acceptance from Christians — making not only their position but also their tactics anti-Christian. They are deliberately targeting the Christian wedding industry — the cakemakers, the caterers, the quaint bed-and-breakfast owners, and the like. They are headhunting Christians who refuse their business on moral grounds by slapping them with lawsuits or “human rights” complaints.

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Posted: apr. 23, 2015 1:13 a.m. | | Christian wedding businesses  Comments 0 Comments

Hillary’s wacky poorhouse claims

While Hillary Clinton hates doing Sunday shows — as we remember from the weekend after Benghazi — she did allow her close friend Gov. Terry McAuliffe to appear on “Meet the Press” on April 19. Jaws dropped when NBC host Chuck Todd threw him a real Russert-like hardball, quoting from his 2007 memoir “What A Party!”

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Posted: apr. 22, 2015 1:01 a.m. | | Hillary’s wacky poorhouse claims Comments 0 Comments

Billionaires owe you a thank you

This tax season, America’s billionaires are toasting you, the ordinary taxpayer.

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Posted: apr. 22, 2015 1:00 a.m. | | Billionaires owe you a thank you   Comments 0 Comments

Blowtorching vegetables

San Francisco is foodie heaven. If you want to eat out, you will never lack for options. That’s the plus side. On the downside, Ess Eff menus are getting so precious they take the fun out of eating.

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Posted: apr. 20, 2015 12:43 a.m. | | Blowtorching vegetables Comments 0 Comments

Curb your economic pessimism

The economy has been in a tepid, soft, slow recovery for the past five-and-a-half years. It’s the weakest rebound in generations. The Commerce Department’s revision of fourth-quarter GDP shows that nothing much has changed. Over the past year, real economic growth registered 2.4 percent, slightly higher than the recovery average. It ain’t much.

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Posted: apr. 17, 2015 12:46 a.m. | | Curb your economic pessimism Comments 0 Comments

Culture war’s long retreat

The Republican rout in the Battle of Indianapolis provides us with a snapshot of the correlation of forces in the culture wars. 

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Posted: apr. 16, 2015 1:12 a.m. | | Culture war’s long retreat Comments 0 Comments

It was a better ending

My friend Julia died as we knew she would. Cancer had ravaged her body for a decade. She no longer could breathe. She was at home, under hospice care, when she asked for a dose of morphine that she knew would kill her but also keep her final moments free of pain.

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Posted: apr. 15, 2015 12:38 a.m. | | It was a better ending Comments 0 Comments

Assisted suicide

The assisted-suicide movement is the rare self-proclaimed civil rights movement that exists to cater to the wishes of affluent Americans. Last week, the California Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on SB 128, a bill to legalize assisted suicide in the state. (Proponents don’t like the word suicide, so they call the measure the “End of Life Option Act.”) Supporters talk of their fear of medical personnel’s prolonging their lives, of pain and lack of autonomy; opponents fear that the bill’s passage would represent a callous act of cultural abandonment of the sick and disabled.

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Posted: apr. 14, 2015 1:48 a.m. | | Assisted suicide Comments 0 Comments

Bathroom Wars continue

More than 30 years ago, conservatives managed to defeat the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, which would have added “sex” to the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection, by frightening women into believing that it would outlaw separate bathrooms for men and women. In the years since, the courts have effectively done what Congress couldn’t, prohibiting discrimination in virtually every aspect of American life — except, of course, bathrooms, which never were really at issue.

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Posted: apr. 13, 2015 1:20 a.m. | | Bathroom Wars continue Comments 0 Comments

Rand Paul helps GOP

Rand Paul’s entry into the 2016 Republican presidential primary is good for the GOP. I won’t proclaim that Paul, 52, has the gravitas or character to occupy the Oval Office — that remains to be seen — but I do believe that all the other Republican hopefuls should watch and learn from Kentucky’s junior senator. His take on issues could make independents and Democrats take a second look at a party where they have not felt welcome.

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Posted: apr. 11, 2015 1:00 a.m. | | Rand Paul helps GOP Comments 0 Comments

Apple, rehabilitate thyself

Just last month, Apple chief executive Tim Cook made headlines when he wrote a piece in The Washington Post, panning Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act as “very dangerous.” Apple, Cook wrote, does not believe in discrimination and strives to “do business in a way that is just and fair.” This month, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Wendy Lee reported, Apple fired some construction workers at Apple Campus 2 in January because they had been convicted of felonies or face felony charges. Just and fair? Hardly.

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Posted: apr. 10, 2015 12:03 a.m. | | Apple, rehabilitate thyself Comments 0 Comments

Why politics do matter

The debate about a “religious freedom” law being considered in Indiana has been making national news. The issue is whether the law would allow discrimination against gays. There has been a storm of protest both from inside and outside the state — with leading businesses threatening and threatened by a proposed boycott of the state; Silicon Valley, for the first time I can remember, taking effective political action; and Indiana legislators tripping over themselves to make sure everyone understands that the law is in no way intended to immunize or condone discrimination.

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Posted: apr. 10, 2015 12:02 a.m. | | Why politics do matter Comments 0 Comments

Corn, scorn & policy porn

Imagine a government energy program that is such a disaster that the Environmental Working Group and the American Petroleum Institute both oppose it. The anti-poverty group ActionAid USA wants to get rid of it, as does the pro-business Competitive Enterprise Institute. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., wants to end it. So does Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. They’re both sponsors of the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015.

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Posted: apr. 09, 2015 12:53 a.m. | | Corn, scorn & policy porn Comments 0 Comments

Try smiling, you’ll be more happier

Don’t pick your nose (at least in public). The other day while I was walking down the street, I saw a guy doing just that. He had the index finger of his right hand up his right nostril, and he was really digging in like he was searching for gold. As I walked past, he turned to face the other way, even though I could still clearly see him as he proceeded to pop the treasure he had found right into his mouth. Super gross.

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Posted: apr. 08, 2015 1:07 a.m. | | Try smiling, you’ll be more happier Comments 0 Comments

Durbin & the race card

Does Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., suffer from short, medium and long-term memory loss? 

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Posted: apr. 08, 2015 1:06 a.m. | | Durbin & the race card Comments 0 Comments

The value of nurses

I never quite understood what “nursing” really meant until the past six months, when the supposed superstar doctor who operated on me in Phoenix (One of the smartest male doctors I know told me she was the best, a woman, how wonderful; beware gender bias.) made a mess of my intestines, leaving me rather critically ill with peritonitis and unbearable pain while she went to Maui. Some very fine physicians, in California and in Arizona, tried to clean up the mess she left, but it was the nurses who took care of me.

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Posted: apr. 07, 2015 12:52 a.m. | | The value of nurses Comments 0 Comments

Escape hatch for corporate cons

“Do the crime, do the time,” goes the old saying.

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Posted: apr. 06, 2015 12:34 a.m. | | Escape hatch for corporate cons Comments 0 Comments

Diversity or meritocracy?

A voracious and eclectic reader, President Nixon instructed me to send him every few weeks 10 articles he would not normally see that were on interesting or important issues.

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Posted: apr. 04, 2015 12:15 a.m. | | Diversity or  meritocracy? Comments 0 Comments

Stand up for Indiana!

In what has been called the “Catholic moment” in America, in the late 1940s and 1950s, Catholics were admonished from pulpits to “live the faith” and “set an example” for others.

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Posted: apr. 03, 2015 1:04 a.m. | | Stand up for Indiana! Comments 0 Comments

The H-1B Visa

The libertarian-leaning me believes an American employer should be able to hire pretty much anyone he or she wants to hire. But the taxpaying me believes that if the federal government limits immigration yet creates a special visa program for highly skilled foreign workers with the assurance that the program will not cut into the wages or jobs of American workers, then Washington ought to keep its promise.

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Posted: apr. 02, 2015 1:40 a.m. | | The H-1B Visa Comments 0 Comments

For rent: The GOP’s No. 3

Representative Steve Scalise might not be for sale, but he is available for long-term lease.

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Posted: apr. 02, 2015 1:39 a.m. | | For rent: The GOP’s No. 3 Comments 0 Comments

Corporate coup on Capitol Hill

Being a Congress critter isn’t the cushy job many people assume. After all, they must draft laws, organize hearings, write speeches, round up votes, and do all sorts of other things.

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Posted: apr. 01, 2015 12:47 a.m. | | Corporate coup on Capitol Hill Comments 0 Comments



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Posted: mar. 28, 2015 12:07 a.m. | | DROUGHT DEAL Comments 0 Comments

Are NGOs agents of subversion?

Though “Bibi” Netanyahu won re-election, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will still look into whether the State Department financed a clandestine effort to defeat him. 

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Posted: mar. 26, 2015 1:02 a.m. | | Are NGOs agents of subversion? Comments 0 Comments

Why not travel to Cuba?

If you’re an American citizen, you’ve got one of the most valuable passports in the world. You can travel nearly anywhere, including countries Uncle Sam doesn’t always get along with.

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Posted: mar. 24, 2015 9:12 p.m. | | Why not travel to Cuba? Comments 0 Comments

Fair trade is a racial justice issue

The work of repairing the racial fissures that broke wide open in Ferguson, Missouri last year goes beyond the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.

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Posted: mar. 24, 2015 9:11 p.m. | | Fair trade is a racial justice issue Comments 0 Comments

They come to bury conservatism

The media have developed a predictable and equally annoying habit every presidential election cycle. We hear the Republicans are going to be crushed by pandering too much to conservatives. The Democrats are firmly moderate and need a push from the left so they don’t forget their “compassion.”

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Posted: mar. 23, 2015 7:55 p.m. | | They come to bury conservatism Comments 0 Comments

Old enough to vote, old enough to drink?

San Francisco’s board of supervisors is considering a proposal to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in some city elections, showing how desperate the left wing of the city’s left wing is to retain their ebbing power in City Hall. Clearly Supervisor John Avalos and ally Supervisor Eric Mar fear they need to register minors to win elections.

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Posted: mar. 23, 2015 12:43 a.m. | | Old enough to vote,  old enough to drink? Comments 0 Comments

The Ryan Giroux problem

What was Ryan Giroux doing free on the streets of a Phoenix suburb — free, that is, to go on a shooting rampage that killed one person, left five more injured and traumatized countless witnesses?

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Posted: mar. 21, 2015 1:04 a.m. | | The Ryan Giroux problem Comments 0 Comments

Killing fish by wasting water during drought

Mixed in with the excitement of fishing with friends on my old California rivers came a single nightmare. 

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Posted: mar. 20, 2015 1:08 a.m. | | Killing fish by wasting water during drought Comments 0 Comments

What would Ike do?

In November 1956, President Eisenhower, enraged he had not been forewarned of their invasion of Egypt, ordered the British, French and Israelis to get out of Suez and Sinai. They did as told.

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Posted: mar. 20, 2015 12:34 a.m. | | What would Ike do? Comments 0 Comments

Re-defending the Alamo

Good news from the front: The defenders of the Alamo are standing strong, bravely battling the forces of tyranny!

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Posted: mar. 20, 2015 12:34 a.m. | | Re-defending the Alamo Comments 0 Comments

What Congress can’t do

Here’s the short answer: Anything.

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Posted: mar. 18, 2015 9:05 p.m. | | What Congress can’t do Comments 0 Comments

Who’s ‘near tears’ now?

Back when political polls were reporting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was likely to lose power in Tuesday’s election, I figured that Bibi must have overplayed his hand when he spoke before Congress at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner and against the wishes of President Obama. I assumed he had miscalculated, and that the gambit would backfire with Israeli voters.

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Posted: mar. 18, 2015 9:05 p.m. | | Who’s ‘near tears’ now?   Comments 0 Comments

Networks burying emailgate?

On March 10, eight days after The New York Times began the scandal over her private email server, Hillary Clinton assembled the press at the United Nations in New York to offer a typically legalistic and crabby press conference lasting only 21 minutes. The first-blush reaction from the pundits? That wasn’t good enough. She can’t expect the story to go away just from that mess. 

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Posted: mar. 17, 2015 8:31 p.m. | | Networks burying emailgate?  Comments 0 Comments

Medical pot bill lost in smoke

Last year, Congress passed an amendment that barred the Department of Justice from using federal dollars to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized them. Last week, three senators proposed a measure to clean up the federal-state medical marijuana mess once and for all.

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Posted: mar. 17, 2015 12:57 a.m. | | Medical pot bill lost in smoke Comments 0 Comments

‘Copper Wire Kid’ got worker’s comp for stealing wire

My roommates in the course of several hospital stays deserve to have their stories, or at least part of them, in print. 

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Posted: mar. 17, 2015 12:51 a.m. | | ‘Copper Wire Kid’ got worker’s comp for stealing wire Comments 0 Comments

Top general’s twisted tribute

General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of staff, wants to honor a particular military hero.

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Posted: mar. 16, 2015 1:26 a.m. | | Top general’s twisted tribute Comments 0 Comments

The 1st Amendment

I understand why University of Oklahoma President David Boren chose to expel two students for singing a vile, racist ditty at a fraternity event. There is nothing funny about lyrics that make light of lynching and repeat the N-word. If students did that at a university that I administered, I’d want to toss them out, too.

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Posted: mar. 16, 2015 1:18 a.m. | | The 1st Amendment Comments 0 Comments

Farcical Ferguson report

The NBA consists of 76 percent black players. But blacks are just 13 percent of the country. Clearly, the league engages in racial discrimination against whites. Silly, right? Well, this is exactly what the sleight-of-hand Department of Justice pulled off to find that the Ferguson Police Department engages in “implicit and explicit racial bias”!

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Posted: mar. 14, 2015 1:04 a.m. | | Farcical Ferguson report Comments 0 Comments

Anyone believe Hillary Clinton?

As Hillary Clinton took questions from the media about the personal email account she used as secretary of state, I felt a flashback coming on. She said she simply chose to use a personal account with a personal server “for convenience.” I felt I had traveled back in time to 1998. Washington was screaming across the aisle. First lady Hillary Clinton charged that a “vast right-wing conspiracy” was behind stories that her husband had an affair with Monica Lewinsky. President Bill Clinton denied that he ever had “sexual relations” with the former intern.

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Posted: mar. 13, 2015 12:46 a.m. | | Anyone believe Hillary Clinton? Comments 0 Comments

Hillary & her server

It’s always nice to know, as I sit here writing, that somebody out there might be listening. This week, I know for sure. My last column essentially asked: What’s the big deal about Hillary’s emails if she’s turning them over anyway?

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Posted: mar. 13, 2015 12:47 a.m. | | Hillary & her server Comments 0 Comments

Actually a moderate Democrat

ORINDA — Mayor Steve Glazer says that he is running for a state Senate seat vacated by now-Rep. Mark DeSaulnier “as a pragmatic problem-solver rather than a partisan.” In my line of work, I hear that sort of stock phrase all the time; I take it with a grain of salt. In Glazer’s case, however, two facts suggest he means business: 1) He supports a law to prohibit Bay Area Rapid Transit workers from striking as they did in 2013. 2) Public employee unions have shoveled hundreds of thousands of dollars to help defeat Glazer, a Democrat.

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Posted: mar. 11, 2015 12:36 a.m. | | Actually a moderate Democrat    Comments 0 Comments

Obama’s war on transparency

On Inauguration Day 2009, the White House website declared President Obama’s administration would become “the most open and transparent in history.” By the end of the next day, Obama had issued high-profile orders pledging “a new era” and “an unprecedented level of openness” across the massive federal bureaucracy.

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Posted: mar. 09, 2015 7:46 p.m. | | Obama’s war on transparency Comments 0 Comments

Teams banking on tanking

In Murfreesboro, Tennessee, less than an hour’s drive from my childhood home, two high school girls’ basketball teams just made national headlines — by trying to lose to each other.

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Posted: mar. 09, 2015 7:46 p.m. | | Teams banking on tanking Comments 0 Comments

Christie’s first-date speech

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave his first-date speech at the California Republican Party’s spring convention in Sacramento earlier this month. Like a big man on campus, Christie essentially was telling the party faithful: I know you’ve heard some bad stuff about me, but here’s why you should go out with me.

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Posted: mar. 09, 2015 12:48 a.m. | | Christie’s first-date speech Comments 0 Comments

Crash course on reality


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Posted: mar. 06, 2015 11:55 p.m. | | Crash course on reality Comments 0 Comments

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