Local columns

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Saturday, March 19, the 79th day of 2016. There are 287 days left in the year.Today's Highlight in History:On March 19, 1966, the Texas Western Miners defeated the heavily favored Kentucky Wildcats, 72-65, to win the NCAA Championship played in College Park, ...

A political year desperate for humor

WASHINGTON - Boy, do I miss Ronald Reagan's robust sense of self-confidence, which enabled him to use self-deprecating humor to confound his political adversaries. In 1987, after his presidency had hit a serious rough spot with the exposure of the Iran-Contra weapons-for-hostages deal and with ...

Nancy with the laughing face

WASHINGTON - Why does it take death to bring us together? Why not life?Watching Nancy Reagan's funeral on television, the front-row tableau was a picture of unity, in form, if not in substance. There was Gov. Jerry Brown of California, a Democrat, Michelle Obama (D), former President George ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Friday, March 18, the 78th day of 2016. There are 288 days left in the year.Today's Highlight in History:On March 18, 1766, Britain repealed the Stamp Act of 1765.On this date:In 1837, the 22nd and 24th president of the United States, Grover Cleveland, was born ...

The agony of daylight saving time

FLINT - I'm big on traditions, and one annual tradition I have is grousing about daylight saving time.I hate it. There's really no other way to put it: I profoundly, passionately, palpably, gutturally, argumentatively, aggressively, gratuitously, viscerally and verbosely hate it.I'm sorry to ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Thursday, March 17, the 77th day of 2016. There are 289 days left in the year. This is St. Patrick's Day.Today's Highlight in History:On March 17, 1966, a U.S. Navy midget submarine located a missing hydrogen bomb which had fallen from a U.S. Air Force B-52 ...

Random thoughts

WASHINGTON - Random thoughts on the passing scene:The presidential election prospects for the Democrats are so bad this year that only the Republicans can save them - as Republicans have saved them before.Will a Supreme Court without a single Protestant justice rule that an ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Wednesday, March 16, the 76th day of 2016. There are 290 days left in the year.Today's Highlight in History:On March 16, 1926, rocket science pioneer Robert H. Goddard successfully tested the first liquid-fueled rocket at his Aunt Effie's farm in Auburn, ...

An American fascist

BERKELEY - I've been reluctant to use the "f" word to describe Donald Trump because it's especially harsh, and it's too often used carelessly.But Trump has finally reached a point where parallels between his presidential campaign and the fascists of the first half of the 20th century - lurid ...

How They Voted

Senate Bill 776, End challenges of "stale" ballot issue petition signatures: Passed 26 to 10 in the SenateTo establish that signatures on a petition to amend the state constitution must be collected within the 180 days before the measure is submitted. Under current law there is a presumption ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Tuesday, March 15, the 75th day of 2016. There are 291 days left in the year.Today's Highlights in History:On March 15, 1916, a U.S. expeditionary force led by Brig. Gen. John J. Pershing entered Mexico on an ultimately futile mission to capture Pancho Villa, ...

Trump’s ‘peak’ might be coming

WASHINGTON - Frequently predicted but never reached, "peak oil" - maximum possible production - has been postponed yet again, this time because of fracking. "Peak Sanders" was prematurely announced because of persistent underestimations of how underwhelming Hillary Clinton is as a candidate. ...

White poverty and me

WASHINGTON - In his continuing effort to pit races and classes against each other, Democratic presidential candidate and socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has said that if you are white, "you don't know what it's like to be poor."He should drive some of the roads I've driven in West ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Monday, March 14, the 74th day of 2016. There are 292 days left in the year.Today's Highlight in History:On March 14, 1794, Eli Whitney received a patent for his cotton gin, an invention that revolutionized America's cotton industry.On this date:In 1885, the ...

Libertarian Lite

NEW YORK - In this year's Republican presidential primaries, Sen. Rand Paul got little traction. In 2012, his father failed. That year, the Libertarian Party candidate, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, got just 1 percent of the vote.We libertarians must be doing something wrong. Maybe our ...

One prediction you can (almost) bank on

WASHINGTON - Panic has become the uninvited visitor to every meeting of elected Republican officeholders. With Donald Trump now the clear favorite to win the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, Republicans whose own fate and future could well be determined by whether they are forced to run on a ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Saturday, March 12, the 72nd day of 2016. There are 294 days left in the year. Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday at 2 a.m. locally. Clocks go forward one hour.Today's Highlight in History:On March 12, 1912, the Girl Scouts of the USA had its origins as Juliette ...

The not presidental campaign

FLINT - I cringed when Sen. Marco Rubio said of Donald Trump at a campaign rally: "I'll admit ... he's taller than me, he's like 6'2," which is why I don't understand why his hands are the size of someone who's 5'2" - and you know what they say about men with small hands. You can't trust ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Thursday, March 10, the 70th day of 2016. There are 296 days left in the year.Today's Highlight in History:On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell's assistant, Thomas Watson, heard Bell say over his experimental telephone: "Mr. Watson - come here - I want to see ...

Last Chance for America?

WASHINGTON - The worst political blunder of all time, according to scientist Freeman Dyson, was the decision of the emperor of China in 1433 to cut off his country from the outside world. In the wake of that decision, China lost its position in the forefront of human achievements and fell ...