Thursday, July 31, 2014

Nice guy becomes House majority leader

Kevin McCarthy may be a one-man refutation of the old adage that “nice guys always finish last.” McCarthy is a genuinely nice guy who won a seat in Congress just eight years ago after a brief stint in the California Legislature, but is poised this week to become House majority leader and could, if Republicans […]

August 01, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists | Tagged | Leave a reply

Should union organizing be a civil right?

Big Labor in the United States has been on the wane for decades. About 6.7 percent of American private-sector workers belonged to a union in 2013, according to the U.S. Bureau Labor of Statistics. Public-sector union membership topped 35.3 percent. Democrats in Congress would like to change that. A bill by Reps. Keith Ellison, D-Minnesota, […]

August 01, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists | Tagged | Leave a reply

Am I blaming victims?

I’m going to tiptoe into a minefield this week. ESPN’s Stephen Smith stepped in it last week when he implied that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s fiancée may have provoked Rice into knocking her unconscious at a casino bar in February. His remarks created a firestorm with people saying he was blaming the victim. […]

Cruz gets border crisis wrong

SAN DIEGO — Ted Cruz doesn’t “get” immigration. Nor does he understand the need to give due process to refugees. This is clear now that thousands of children from Central America have crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. I’ve known the senator from Texas for a dozen years. He’s scary smart. Yet on immigration and asylum – […]

Why ‘compassionate conservatism’ is still dead

Compassionate conservatism is back. That’s how Peter Beinart, a contributing editor at the Atlantic, reads a number of recent developments in Republican politics, the most recent being Representative Paul Ryan’s announcement of new anti-poverty proposals. Beinart is skeptical that this revival of an old campaign theme will work. I’m skeptical that the revival is even […]

Red light camera fate now uncertain in state

There are few worse feelings for a driver than receiving a letter purporting to show that person in the act of running a red light. But not many legal items are less enforceable or reliable, despite what the California Supreme Court said in an early summer ruling which held red light camera photos and videos have […]

Obscure state agency creates big money problems

Whatever attention the public and media devote to state government is concentrated on the governor, other elected officials and the Legislature. But state government is mostly hundreds of agencies, boards and commissions that provide services, make regulatory rules, issue licenses and hand out money. Generally, they go about their business, whatever it might be, below […]

Question of the week: Do you agree with Fairfield’s PLA decision?

The Fairfield City Council last week agreed to a project labor agreement for the proposed train station development. Do you agree with that decision? Participate in this week’s poll: Last week’s results Should local cities oppose Valero’s plan to ship crude by rail through the region? Yes: 41 percent No: 59 percent 88 Daily Republic […]

Question of the week: Do you agree with Fairfield’s PLA decision?

The Fairfield City Council last week agreed to a project labor agreement for the proposed train station development. Do you agree with that decision? Participate in this week’s poll: Last week’s results Should local cities oppose Valero’s plan to ship crude by rail through the region? Yes: 41 percent No: 59 percent 88 Daily Republic […]

Ukraine launches offensive to retake Donetsk

DONETSK, Ukraine — Ukrainian officials said their forces advanced to the outskirts of a key town north of Donetsk on Saturday as they try to retake the stronghold held for months by pro-Russia rebels. The move comes as Ukrainian forces appear to have gained some momentum recently by retaking control of territory from the rebels. But […]

Dutch: 1st victim identified from Flight 17

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch government says the first victim has been identified from the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster. The name and sex of the victim, a Dutch national, weren’t released. The government said Saturday the next of kin and mayor of the victim’s hometown have been informed. More than 200 forensic experts […]

Israel says it’s extending Gaza truce for 24 hours

BEIT HANOUN, Gaza Strip — Hamas resumed rocket fire Saturday on Israel after rejecting Israel’s offer to extend a humanitarian cease-fire, the latest setback in international efforts to negotiate an end to the Gaza war. Despite the Hamas rejection, Israel’s Cabinet decided to extend a truce for 24 hours, until midnight Sunday. However, it warned that […]

Ebola outbreak spreads to 4th West African country

ABUJA, Nigeria — An Ebola outbreak that has left more than 660 people dead across West Africa has spread to the continent’s most populous nation after a Liberian man with a high fever vomited aboard an airplane to Nigeria and then died there, officials said Friday. The 40-year-old man had recently lost his sister to […]

Gaza sides agree to lull but truce efforts stall

JERUSALEM — Israel-Hamas fighting looked headed for escalation after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry failed Friday to broker a weeklong truce as a first step toward a broader deal and Israel’s defense minister warned Israel might soon expand its Gaza ground operation “significantly.” Hours after the U.S.-led efforts stalled, the two sides agreed to […]

Some people have missed the drought memo

California is in the midst of the third-most severe drought on record, though apparently many in Fairfield have missed the memo, if the not-uncommon sight of sprinkler water cascading down sidewalks and into the streets is any evidence. And, indeed, water usage throughout the state has increased by 1 percent compared with consumption over each […]

What happened to the US?

What happened to us as the United States? We are afraid to voice our opinions anymore, especially when we know it’s wrong to go against status quo. First off, we found that we cannot be the police of the world when conflicts arise in other countries all the time, and just as we cannot be the […]

What kids don’t know would shock you

A good way to find out what high school graduates have or have not learned in public schools is simply quiz them whenever and wherever possible. For example, I’ve asked many high school graduates various questions, such as, “If I can buy 20 chicken McNuggets for $5, how much am I paying for each McNugget?” With regard […]

Call for tech diversity misplaced

The demand for what the left calls diversity has reached a new low. I don’t know whether it’s based on ignorance, mendacity, greed or maybe the need for attention. What I’m referring to is the current “demand” for diversity in the tech industry. No surprise that Silicon Valley is in the bull’s-eye of the protest. Also no […]

Shootout for LA County board may be most interesting race

In an otherwise lackluster campaign season, California’s most interesting political duel may be one for a rare vacancy on the five-member Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. It’s interesting because a supervisor’s seat in a county that’s more populous (10 million-plus) than all but eight states is a powerful political prize. It’s also interesting because […]

Is parenting being criminalized in America?

Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised […]

July 25, 2014 | Posted in State, national columnists | Tagged , | 1 Reply

Will history repeat in child immigrant crisis?

For some people familiar with the history of the runup to World War II, there’s a sense of déjà vu in today’s humanitarian crisis along the Mexican border these days, as resistance rises against the tens of thousands of unaccompanied children attempting to enter and stay in the United States. Eyewitness reports in The New […]

Pérez gives up on vote recount, but system’s flaws are shown

One can categorize politicians by many indices – honesty, intelligence, effectiveness and ideology, for instance. One of the more reliable, however, is what one might call self-identification. Does the politician, regardless of other qualities, see politics primarily as a civic duty – something separate from family and/or professional career – or as the essence of […]

Question of the week: Should cities oppose Valero’s crude-by-rail plan?

Valero is planning to ship crude oil by rail through Solano County to its refinery in Benicia, bringing the possibility – although remote – of an accident. Should local officials resist the plan? Participate in this week’s poll: Last week’s results Should the state enforce mandatory water restrictions with fines? Yes: 43 percent No: 57 percent […]

US funds political groups in Venezuela despite ban

CARACAS, Venezuela — Almost four years after Venezuela enacted a law to bar the U.S. from funding groups frequently critical of the socialist government, millions of the American dollars the administration tried to ban still flow to these organizations, an analysis by The Associated Press shows. Much more U.S. support is under consideration. The State […]

Israel pushes in Gaza, expanding ground operation

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israeli troops pushed deeper into Gaza on Friday in a ground offensive that officials said could last up to two weeks as the prime minister ordered the military to prepare for a “significantly” wider campaign. The assault raised risks of a bloodier conflict amid escalating Palestinian civilian casualties and the […]

Walmart donation benefits Meals on Wheels

On behalf of Meals on Wheels of Solano County and its board of directors, I would like to thank the Wal-Mart Corporate State Giving Program for a recent grant award of $25,000, which supports our organization’s mission to provide meals to seniors in our community. Meals on Wheels’ motto is “So no senior goes hungry […]