January 20, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - In a swift and simple ceremony at the White House, President Obama was sworn in for a second term on Sunday and embarked on another four years leading a nation hobbled by a weak economy and gripped by political division. With his family at his side and his hand on his wife's family Bible, the 44th president began the new term on an understated note, repeating the oath of office in a private ceremony the day before a more lavish, public reenactment. The intimate event was an adherence to tradition prompted by a quirk of the calendar.
January 15, 2013 |
Revolutionary changes are coming at us at supersonic speed, bringing new challenges that are existential and global. Yet our political system seems incapable of adapting to, or even fully acknowledging, those changes. Instead, the system is constricted by ideas and attitudes better suited to the 19th century. In the current issue of Vanity Fair, Todd Purdum equates the current era with the decades before and after 1500 during which the New World was discovered and explored, trade became a global enterprise, the Reformation broke the religious monopoly of the Roman Catholic Church, the feudal system gave way to nation states and movable type and the printing press created the first form of mass communication.
December 26, 2012
Re "Firm lobbies, wins state work," Dec. 23 Deloitte Consulting invested (the polite term) $2.2 million in the California political system over the last 10 years and has won contracts worth more than $540 million over that time. Hundreds of millions of those dollars were for projects that were either over budget or abandoned. Deloitte's chump-change investment earned a return of at least 24,545%. To those voters who think public financing of elections is too expensive, I say, think again.
December 18, 2012 |
On Friday, in his moving and heartfelt statement in response to the horrific shootings in Newtown, Conn., President Obama said, "As a country, we have been through this too many times…. And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics. " He's right about so much here, but so wrong about one thing. In a democracy, politics is a synonym for "democracy. " It is through politics that people with strong feelings and interests peaceably hash out their disagreements.
November 8, 2012 |
In the same week it is revealed to us who will be the next leaders of both superpowers: Barack Obama and Xi Jinping. The only difference is that we didn't know it would be Obama until after Tuesday's vote. By contrast, we knew it would be Xi long before the process that begins in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Nov. 8, from which he will emerge as Communist Party leader, becoming president next spring. The coincidence prompts two questions: Which superpower is getting stronger?
October 23, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Rep. Pete Stark, dean of California's congressional delegation, arrived in the House when Richard Nixon occupied the White House and John McCain was in a POW camp. Now, at age 80, Stark, one of Congress' most liberal and outspoken Democrats, faces perhaps the toughest campaign since he was first elected 40 years ago. Eric Swalwell, his aggressive 31-year-old challenger in a new East San Francisco Bay district, is taking a page out of the playbook Stark used in 1972 to oust fellow Democrat George P. Miller, the then 81-year-old dean of the California delegation: It's time for change.