Sunday, April 19, 2015

‘Furious 7′ speeds ahead of the competition

LOS ANGELES — Even in its debut weekend, Kevin James’s “Paul Blart” sequel couldn’t outpace “Furious 7.” The reigning box office champion might have slowed from its blockbuster debut, but “Furious 7″ maintained first place for the third weekend in a row with an estimated $29.1 million, according to box office tracker Rentrak on Sunday. This […]

French replica of revolutionary frigate sets sail for Boston

FOURAS, France — With champagne, fireworks and a presidential blessing, a painstakingly built replica of the frigate once used to bring French troops and funds to American revolutionaries set sail Saturday for the U.S. East Coast. With the celebratory sendoff, the $27 million Hermione began its voyage to retrace the 213-foot frigate’s trans-Atlantic journey in 1780, […]

No shortage of bad Social Security fixes

Social Security Works, a left-wing group, was quick on the draw. Within an hour of Sen. Marco Rubio’s announcement that he was running for president, it issued a news release attacking him: “If Senator Marco Rubio had his way, Social Security’s very modest benefits, averaging just $1,330 a month for retired workers, would be cut.” […]

Book offers quotes worth repeating

When I first heard the story, I wondered, what’s a chiropractor doing landing on the front lawn of the U.S. Capitol? Whoops – because of my aged hearing, it took me a moment to realize it was a gyro-copter, a flying nuisance of some kind. Now, having started off with that alleged story, allow me […]

What price government?

Recall the founding of the United States. Before the American Revolution, a large percentage of the population just wanted to be citizens of Great Britain. They wanted the same liberties enjoyed by their brethren in the British Isles. The king, however, regarded “colonials” as less than citizens; they were untamed radicals in the untamed land […]

China’s numbers worse than they seem

If ever China needed to serve up a decent GDP report, it was now. With stocks booming, global growth uncertain, India catching up and Beijing’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank coming online, now isn’t the time to betray weakness. So, like any good command government, China reported gross domestic product grew 7 percent in the first […]

April 16, 2015 | Posted in State, national columnists | Tagged , | 1 Reply

Read between lines in Iran agreement

Has Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, changed his mind about when sanctions against Iran should be lifted based on the April 2 framework agreement worked out in Lausanne, Switzerland, with the United States and five other world powers? The Washington Post reported that Khamenei, in an April 9 speech, said, “Sanctions should be lifted […]

How much water did you save today?

Why aren’t we conserving water? The past three years have been the driest in California since recordings were started in 1895. Despite the brief rain last week, 2015 is predicted to be as dry as the rest. That’s bad news for a state of 39 million using a water system designed for half that. The […]

Question of the week: Do you think there should be different water restrictions for Northern and Southern California?

Last week, a California’s water board report showed February water use increasing 2 percent along the south coastline, which includes Los Angeles and San Diego. San Francisco Bay Area communities, meanwhile, cut back by 8 percent. Do you think there should be different water restrictions for Northern and Southern California? Take our poll. Last week’s question: How can […]

Schieffer news brings US Senate testimony to mind

With your forebearance, I’d like to relate a memory of mine in honor of Bob Schieffer of CBS News. Schieffer is retiring from the broadcast business after 47 years in front of the camera. Before he was a news anchor, for many years on “Face the Nation,” he was a correspondent for CBS. I think […]


Publishers Weekly best-sellers for week ending April 5: HARDCOVER FICTION 1. “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins (Riverhead) 2. “The Stranger” by Harlan Coben (Dutton) 3. “The Shadows” by J.R. Ward (NAL) 4. “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr (Scribner) 5. “NYPD Red 3″ by James Patterson and Marshal Karp […]

Maybe it’s time to stop calling Shell an oil company

Can we stop calling Royal Dutch Shell an oil company, or even an oil and gas company? The majority of its proved reserves have long been in natural gas, not oil. If its $70 billion acquisition of the company formerly known as British Gas (BG Group) goes through, the reserves breakdown will be 8.9 billion […]

Europe’s kowtowing to China on AIIB is self-defeating

Earlier this week Larry Summers said he could “think of no event since Bretton Woods comparable to the combination of China’s effort to establish a major new institution and the failure of the U.S. to persuade dozens of its traditional allies, starting with Britain, to stay out of it.” This may be remembered, he says, […]

Hachette imprint acquires self-published erotic best-sellers

NEW YORK — A million-selling, self-published author has a $7 million book deal. Forever, a romance imprint of Hachette Book Group, announced Tuesday that it had signed 32-year-old Meredith Wild, whose “Hacker” erotic series has appeared on numerous best-seller lists. Forever is reissuing the four current “Hacker” books as e-books on Tuesday and as paperbacks […]

New book by Dick Cheney takes on Barack Obama

NEW YORK — The next book by former Vice President Dick Cheney is aimed directly at President Barack Obama. Cheney’s “Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America” will be published on Sept. 1 by Threshold Editions, the publisher announced Tuesday. The book, co-authored by Cheney’s daughter Liz Cheney, contends that Obama has abandoned a […]

‘Furious 7′ races past expectations with $143.6 million

LOS ANGELES — The high-octane “Furious 7″ peeled out of the gates in its opening weekend, picking up a stunning $143.6 million from 4,004 locations to easily top the domestic box office, according to Rentrak estimates Sunday. The expectation-shattering sum is a studio and franchise best for the homegrown car-obsessed series, which has continued to grow […]

Mexico non-violence art features guns with knotted barrels

MONTERREY, Mexico — Replicas of a sculpture of a knotted pistol that was designed in honor of the late musician John Lennon are being displayed this month in Monterrey, a northern industrial city that knows about gun violence. The 13 pieces in a variety of colors and designs were made by individuals and organizations. They […]

Former drummer for Lynyrd Skynyrd dies in wreck

CARTERSVILLE, Ga. — The former drummer and a founding member of the Southern hard rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, Robert Burns Jr., died late Friday in a single-vehicle crash in Georgia, police and his father said. Burns’ vehicle went off a road just before midnight as it approached a curve near Cartersville, striking a mailbox and […]

Civilians flee as militants seize most of Damascus camp

BEIRUT — Civilians trapped in a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria’s capital fled to safer areas Saturday amid intense shelling and clashes between Palestinian armed factions and Islamic militants who took over most of the camp, Syrian activists said. A Damascus-based Palestinian official, Khaled Abdul-Majid, said the militants controlled about half of the Yarmouk camp, located […]

Video: Islamic State group shot, hammered away Iraq’s Hatra

BAGHDAD — Islamic State extremists at Iraq’s ancient city of Hatra destroyed the archaeological site by smashing sledgehammers into its walls and shooting Kalashnikov assault rifles at priceless statues, a new militant video purportedly from the group shows. Militants attacked Hatra, a UNESCO World Heritage site, last month, officials and local residents said, though the extent […]

Kenya: Extremists vow more attacks; president responds

GARISSA, Kenya — Somalia’s Islamic extremist group al-Shabab warned Saturday of more attacks in Kenya like the assault on Garissa University College that killed 148 people. “Kenyan cities will run red with blood,” said al-Shabab according to the SITE intelligence monitoring group. The Islamic militants said the attack on Garissa college was in retaliation for killings […]

Question of the week: How can Fairfield best ensure the safety of children and families in its city parks?

At a recent Fairfield City Council meeting, members of the community expressed concern about safety at Allan Witt Park. How can Fairfield best ensure the safety of children and families in its city parks? Take part in our poll. Greater police presence. Landscaping, lighting and fencing improvements. A program to address the issue of homelessness. All of […]

More whites than blacks, Latinos approve police striking men

WASHINGTON — Whites in the United States approve of police officers hitting people in far greater numbers than blacks and Hispanics do, at a time when the country is struggling to deal with police use of deadly force against men of color, according to a major American trend survey. Seven of 10 whites polled, or […]

Utah is 49th state for Obama. South Dakota still waits

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — Utah, check. One more state to go for President Barack Obama: South Dakota. Utah was the 49th state visited by Obama and the latest stop on his recent tour of Republican “red” states. Since Republicans took control of both houses of Congress in January, Obama has traveled to 10 […]

US woman accused of trying to join, martyr self for IS group

PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia woman was arrested Friday on charges she tried to join and martyr herself for the Islamic State group, a day after two women in New York were charged with plotting to wage jihad by building a bomb and using it for a Boston Marathon-type attack. Keonna Thomas, 30, was preparing to […]

Texas faces deadline to relocate sex offenders after prison

DALLAS — A Texas agency is scrambling to relocate more than 100 sex offenders after two companies backed out of a contract to provide post-prison housing, but officials say inquiries about shuttered jails, holding facilities and numerous other options have left them no closer to a solution. Marsha McLane, executive director of the state’s Office […]

Hawaiian leader seeks construction pause at sacred summit

HONOLULU — A Native Hawaiian leader is calling on the state and the University of Hawaii to adopt a 30-day moratorium on telescope construction at a mountain summit Hawaiians consider sacred. Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee Peter Apo’s call Friday comes one a day after protesters were arrested for blocking construction vehicles from reaching the […]

State lacks evidence, frees man after 30 years on death row

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A man who spent nearly 30 years on Alabama’s death row walked free Friday hours after prosecutors acknowledged that the only evidence they had against him couldn’t prove he committed the crime. Ray Hinton was 29 when he was arrested for two 1985 killings. Freed at age 58, with grey hair and […]