Local columns

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Wednesday, April 27, the 118th day of 2016. There are 248 days left in the year.Today's Highlight in History:On April 27, 1986, a video pirate calling himself "Captain Midnight" interrupted a movie on HBO with a printed onscreen message protesting home satellite ...

Why not tax financial speculation?

BERKELEY - Why is there so little discussion about one of Bernie Sanders's most important proposals - to tax financial speculation?Buying and selling stocks and bonds in order to beat others who are buying and selling stocks and bonds is a giant zero-sum game that wastes countless resources, ...

The Celtic tiger lives

DUBLIN - They called it the Celtic Tiger, a period of prosperity between 1995 and 2008, during which everything in Ireland appeared to come up shamrocks.According to Wikipedia, between 1995 and 2000, the long-dormant Irish economy took off, expanding by a startling 9.4 percent. There was a ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Tuesday, April 26, the 117th day of 2016. There are 249 days left in the year.Today's Highlight in History:On April 26, 1986, a major accident occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine (then part of the Soviet Union) as an explosion and fire caused ...

The gift of Trump’s ramshackle campaign

WASHINGTON - "One fine day, in a fit of euphoria, after he had picked up the telephone and taken an order for zero-coupon bonds that had brought him a $50,000 commission, (BEG ITAL)just like that, this very phrase had bubbled up into his brain. On Wall Street he and a few others - how many? - ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Monday, April 25, the 116th day of 2016. There are 250 days left in the year.Today's Highlight in History:On April 25, 1816, Romantic poet Lord Byron, beset by financial problems and personal turmoil (including a failed marriage), left his native England at age ...

Hospitals and bad customer service

NEW YORK - I write this from the hospital. Seems I have lung cancer.My doctors tell me my growth was caught early and I'll be fine. Soon I will barely notice that a fifth of my lung is gone. I believe them. After all, I'm at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. U.S. News & World Report ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Saturday, April 23, the 114th day of 2016. There are 252 days left in the year.Today's Highlight in History:On April 23, 1616 (Old Style calendar), English poet and dramatist William Shakespeare died in Stratford-upon-Avon on what has traditionally been regarded ...

Enbridge won’t protect the Great Lakes

FLINT - Flint and the Straits of Mackinac are 225 miles apart. but one thing connects them in my mind: distrust.I have it in spades. Probably we all do. Ever since the poisoning of Flint, I can't bring myself to trust the state to protect us from anything, great or small, short term or long ...

Congress still wasting taxpayers’ money

WASHINGTON - Now that the tax deadline has come and gone, consider how the federal government wastes our money.Remember the spending caps that were supposed to keep Congress from overspending? Gone with the wind.How about the promise Republicans made about no more earmarks on spending bills? It ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Thursday, April 21, the 112th day of 2016. There are 254 days left in the year.Today's Highlight in History:On April 21, 1926, Britain's Queen Elizabeth II was born in Mayfair, London; she was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King ...

The ‘No-Nonsense’ Negotiator

WASHINGTON - In addition to winning more primaries, more convention delegates and 2 million more votes than any other Republican presidential candidate running this year, billionaire developer Donald Trump has won a significant national following with his repeated pledge, as a shrewd ...

The Saudis practice mafia tactics

WASHINGTON - The Mafia, in its heyday, ran lucrative protection rackets. Pay them and your business would be kept safe from "unforeseen" threats. Don't pay them and your business might go up in smoke with you inside.Today, things are more sophisticated.The New York Times reports that Saudi ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Friday, April 22, the 113th day of 2016. There are 253 days left in the year. The Jewish holiday Passover begins at sunset.Today's Highlight in History:On April 22, 1616, Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes, author of "Don Quixote," died in Madrid. (The date is ...

The ‘Voice of the People’ fallacy

WASHINGTON - We hear many fallacies in election years. The fallacy that seems to be most popular this year is that, if Donald Trump comes close to getting the 1,237 delegates required to become the Republican nominee, and that nomination goes instead to someone else, then the convention will ...

How They Voted

Senate Bill 818, Exempt yoga instruction schools from licensure mandate: Passed 35 to 0 in the SenateTo exempt yoga teacher training schools from a state licensure mandate imposed on private trade-schools, with annual fees, government inspections, regulations and more. A Senate Fiscal Agency ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Wednesday, April 20, the 111th day of 2016. There are 255 days left in the year.Today's Highlight in History:On April 20, 1916, the Chicago Cubs played their first game at Wrigley Field (then known as Weeghman Park); the Cubs defeated the Cincinnati Reds 7-6.On ...

Bernie and the big banks

BERKELEY - The recent kerfuffle about Bernie Sanders purportedly not knowing how to bust up the big banks says far more about the threat Sanders poses to the Democratic establishment and its Wall Street wing than it does about the candidate himself.Of course Sanders knows how to bust up the big ...

Almanac

By The Associated PressToday is Tuesday, April 19, the 110th day of 2016. There are 256 days left in the year.Today's Highlight in History:On April 19, 1966, Bobbi Gibb, 23, became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon at a time when only men were allowed to participate. (Gibb jumped into ...

Histories that shouldn’t be secret

WASHINGTON - When President Obama departs for Saudi Arabia, an incubator of the 9/11 attacks, he will leave behind a dispute about government secrecy. The suppression of 28 pages, first from a public congressional inquiry and then from the 2004 report by the national 9/11 Commission, has spared ...