by James O. Goldsborough
My most recent and favorite columns.
All the News -- Almost
Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009 | It's been the dirty little secret of newspapers for 150 years: Print all the news that's fit to print except news about newspapers. Since the New York days of Bennett, Greeley, Pulitzer and Hearst, reporters have been sent out to stick their noses into everybodys business but their own, something that has led to egregious press abuses.
Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2009 | Government wastes time and money by throwing people with good tax-paying jobs, who are contributing to the economy and the community, onto the street.
On Repairing California
Thursday, Sept. 10, 2009 | How do you govern a state of 40 million people with a constitution written for 1.5 million?
The Dollar: How Printing It Made Us Powerful and Set Decline in Motion
Wednesday, Aug 12, 2009 | We won't get an export industry back for our manufactures until there's another reserve currency -- like the euro -- that lets the dollar find its true parity level.
A War We'll Be Feeling Forever
Wednesday, Jul 8, 2009 | Nothing in the Iraq war went as we expected, which is why nothing in the future will go as we expect.
California's Banana Republic
Thursday, June 11, 2009 | The state is in the same situation as General Motors only without Washington to bail it out.
Who's Responsible for Torture?
Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | What are we to do with the torture lawyers, the Bush Administration lawyers who provided the White House with the legal cover it demanded so fighters picked up after 9/11 could be tortured into confessions. Someone must take responsibility for this torture, which is illegal. Should it be the lawyers?
Saying Goodbye to a Morning Ritual
Wednesday, April 8, 2009 | I have a brother who lives in Marin County, and he called the other day to complain about the fate of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009 | Sixteen years after Bill and Hillary Clinton tried to create a health care system with universal coverage, Barack Obama is back at it. He wants to avoid the mistakes the Clintons made, but leaves no doubt his goal is the same: to bring down healthcare costs and create a system where all Americans have health insurance.
The Death of the Foreign Correspondent
Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009 | Last spring I was invited to speak to a journalism class at San Diego State, though in keeping with the times it is now called "communication" for the excellent reason that most of its students will never be journalists.
How to Govern
Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008 | To govern, goes the French saying, is to choose, and the choices President-elect Barack Obama has made in the month since his election are so different from those made by President George W. Bush.
Obama�s Excellent Win
Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008 | Looking through the numbers from Tuesday's election reveals just how historic the president-elect's victory was.
Nothing Wrong With Kansas
Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008 | Franklin Roosevelt, who set up the SEC to protect us from future financial crises, could not have known the commission would one day be subverted from within.
Elections and Wealth
Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008 | The biggest divide in the country on display recently was not between delegates of the two different parties, but between those delegates and the general population.
Year of the Latino
Thursday, August 14, 2008 | There are not likely to be any huge surprises in November - no hanging chads, no landslides, no Truman upsets. The two presidential candidates are close in the polls, meaning we could have again, as in 2000 and nearly again in 2004, a minority president, but given our electoral system and political polarization, that would be no surprise.
I Just Have to Cross
Thursday, July 10, 2008 | Violence creates refugees, millions of them. We see daily body counts from the war in Iraq, but rarely do we read about the 4.7 million refugees caused by the war, many of them now straining to get into Europe through Greece and Italy. The great refugee fluxes in the world today -- from Iraq, Colombia, Sudan and Zimbabwe, like those a few years ago from Kosovo and Rwanda -- are caused by wars and violence.
Hillary for VEEP?
Thursday, June 12, 2008 | What could be more natural than adding Hillary Clinton to the ticket? In the primaries, she was strong where Barack Obama was weak -- with seniors, women, Hispanics, organized labor. He did better with college grads and the South, but she did better with high school grads and the rust belt. Together, they would be formidable.
A Healthy Fight for Democrats
Thursday, May 8, 2008 | Two years after the primary season started, the Democrats still don't have a nominee. We might have had one Tuesday night, except that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton split the Indiana-North Carolina vote. Had either won both states, things would be clearer. As it is, still no decision.
Oxymoronic Foreign Policy
Thursday, April 10, 2008 | We can�t really hold politicians, even so-called "straight-talking" ones, to their word, can we? Politicians need the freedom to run at the edges in the primaries and move back to the center in November. Only a curmudgeon would call it pandering.
McCain vs. ??????
Thursday, March 6, 2008 | In a column for voiceofsandiego.org exactly one year ago I hailed Barack Obama -- who was then trailing Hillary Clinton by a dozen points -- as a "phenomenon" and said the Democratic nomination was his to lose. Following Tuesday�s big votes in Ohio and Texas, he hasn�t yet lost it, but Clinton, a tough fighter, is neck and neck.
Super Winners and Losers
Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008 | Yes, Republicans still can win the White House. Few would have thought so after the '06 elections or even last year when Republicans were still praying to be saved by a movie actor, Fred Thompson, who hadn�t even entered the race. True, Bush is still vastly unpopular, but the long stalemate in Iraq has numbed the moral outrage of some Republicans and allowed for the resurrection of John McCain, the great war champion pronounced dead only six months ago.
On Religion and Politics
Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008 | It's been a long while since religion played as heady a role in politics as it's playing in this year's Republican primary. One has to go back to 1960 and the controversy over John Kennedy's Catholicism for anything comparable, and Kennedy quickly put the issue behind him. This year's Republicans have not.
Double Speak on Immigration
Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2007 | Watching the leading Republican candidates for president outdo each other over who is more anti-immigrant, the word hypocrisy comes to mind. There�s nothing wrong with changing your mind about something ("When the facts change," said John Maynard Keynes, "I change my mind. What do you do, sir?"). But the facts on U.S. immigration haven�t changed in years.
Thursday, Nov. 8, 2007 | However poor the Republican candidates for president may be, one of them could win the election next year. Whatever the polls say about their chances and however the popular vote turns out, our crazy electoral vote system leaves the presidential result in just a handful of swing states.
Consequences of the Fires
Monday, Oct. 29, 2007 | The two worst fires in California recorded history have now struck San Diego County within four years time. While we applaud our community spirit and take stock of the progress we�ve made in fighting such disasters, it�s also time for a dispassionate assessment of what these repeated natural catastrophes mean for our future.
Thursday, Oct. 11, 2007 | The first time I went to the Rosarito Beach Hotel I was 9 years old. Five of us piled into my uncle's prewar Ford convertible to drive down from Playa del Rey. There was no Interstate 5 in those days -- you just drove along the coast, through little towns called Carlsbad and Oceanside, took a turn by La Jolla and on to the border, a breezy little outpost where you waved at the Tijuana guards and they waved back.
Thursday, Sept. 13, 2007 | Republicans are more than a little concerned about next year's elections, as well they should be. Still, the shoddy attempt by a California GOP operative to game the electoral system to help next year's GOP presidential nominee needs to be exposed as the flimflam that it is.
Thursday, Aug. 9, 2007 | Scroll down the voiceofsandiego.org's front page and you'll find an editorial entitled "Feeling Good About the Future of Journalism." It is a good editorial and very unusual. Almost everything one reads about journalism today is negative.
Thursday, July 12, 2007 | Immigration into America is out of control. People enter the country and stay at will, a practice which created an illegal population of 16 to 18 million people over the past two decades. A quarter of those people were legalized in the 1980s and 1990s, leaving another estimated 12 million illegal immigrants today, with the number growing. Every poll shows that Americans want their government to take control of this situation.
Thursday, June 14, 2007 | Two weeks in Paris brings me back to San Diego with a fresh perspective on our country's problems. It is one of the advantages of travel: It helps us see things, including ourselves, as others see them.
'Defeat is an Orphan'
Thursday, May 10, 2007 | The Bush Administration sought to go to war with Iraq from its earliest days. We knew that from former insiders Richard Clarke and Paul O'Neill, and now George Tenet has confirmed it. Bush told lies about alleged Iraqi links to Sept. 11 to sell his intended war to the American people.
Thursday, April 12, 2007 |
Letters to newspapers, whether to print or on-line journals, are always popular. Polling shows letters to the editor are the most-read feature on most opinion pages, and on opinion pages such as in The San Diego Union-Tribune, it is no contest.
Nomination Obama's to Lose?
Thursday, March 8, 2007 | Barack Obama made a nice showing on his first swing through Southern California, raising an estimated $500,000 in San Diego and a cool $1.3 million in Los Angeles, thanks mostly to a Spielberg-Geffen-Katzenberg fund-raiser, which brought out the stars. You might say California was Obama's for the asking.
Letters to the Editor
Thursday, Feb. 8, 2007 | University boards of education aren't allowed to meddle in academic issues, and for good reason. Unlike elected officials to public school boards, many appointees to the UC and Cal State boards of education are fat cats -- wealthy political campaign contributors who donate to politicians who reward them with board appointments.
San Diego State's Turkey Trouble
Thursday, Jan. 11, 2007 | University boards of education aren't allowed to meddle in academic issues, and for good reason. Unlike elected officials to public school boards, many appointees to the UC and Cal State boards of education are fat cats -- wealthy political campaign contributors who donate to politicians who reward them with board appointments.
On Impeaching Bush
Thursday, Dec. 14, 2006 | After I had spoken on the Iraq war at USD's Institute for Peace and Justice following the elections last month, I was surprised and unprepared when a woman in the audience asked what I thought about the movement to impeach George W. Bush. I brushed her question off as not serious, and she came up afterward and let me have it: She was deadly serious about the impeachment movement.
False Assumptions and Dubious Principles
Friday, Nov. 10, 2006 | As the Iraq war started more than three years ago, George Bush's neoconservative supporters praised him for a courageous decision. He was betting his presidency on the war, they said.
This week, Bush lost his bet.
Walled-off from Reality
Thursday, Oct. 12, 2006 | Twenty-five percent of Americans approved of the job Congress is doing in the latest CBS-New York Times poll, and what could those people possibly have been thinking? Reps. Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney and Mark Foley have all been forced from office in recent months, and they're just the ones who were caught. Republican leadership is collapsing. Beyond that, no Congress in history has ever spent more to achieve less. What is there to approve?
Thursday, Sept. 14, 2006 | Duncan Hunter has represented parts of San Diego County in Congress since defeating the redoubtable Lionel Van Deerlin in 1980, thanks mainly to Ronald Reagan's coattails. Van Deerlin, the first Democrat ever elected to Congress from San Diego (the Copley press managed to keep Democrats out of office here for most of the past century), fell victim to the charge -- like everyone who has opposed Hunter since -- that he was "weak on defense."
On Owning Newspapers
Thursday, Aug. 10, 2006 | Shortly after leaving the Army in 1960, I decided to become a newspaperman. The idea came to me one morning lying in bed, and since the bed happened to be in Santa Barbara, I decided to start my career at the local newspaper, the News-Press. I wandered into their offices on Anacapa Street that afternoon, asked for Mr. Storke, the owner-publisher, and to my great surprise was rejected. Get some experience, they said.
I had revenge of sorts a few years later when I won the Thomas M. Storke award for international journalism. Storke, founder of what became the News-Press in 1901, is one of the legendary names in California publishing, up there with Chandler, Hearst and McClatchy. For most of the past century, Santa Barbara, though a small town by California city standards, has had a good newspaper to serve it.
Hiding our Faces
Thursday, July 13, 2006 | One little-noticed event during the recent World Cup soccer tournament was that the American team was the only one driving around Germany in an unmarked bus. The other teams drove in buses proudly advertising their nations� presence among soccer�s elite 32 qualifiers, while the U.S. team skulked around in anonymity.
Where's the Iraq War Protest?
Thursday, June 8, 2006 | The destruction of Iraq will go down as the greatest moral crime in U.S. history, and historians are certain to ask why Americans remained so indifferent to it.
It's not young people who mostly oppose bad wars, it"s their parents. Support for the Vietnam War was always highest among Americans under 30 and always lowest among those over 50, their parents. In April, 1968, two months after North Vietnam"s Tet Offensive turned the tide of war toward Hanoi, 54 percent of Americans under 30 -- those vulnerable to the draft -- still supported the war, compared with just 31 percent of Americans over 50.
Why the 50th Should Change Horses
The destruction of Iraq will go down as the greatest moral crime in U.S. history, and historians are certain to ask why Americans remained so indifferent to it.
It"s not young people who mostly oppose bad wars, it"s their parents. Support for the Vietnam War was always highest among Americans under 30 and always lowest among those over 50, their parents. In April, 1968, two months after North Vietnam"s Tet Offensive turned the tide of war toward Hanoi, 54 percent of Americans under 30 -- those vulnerable to the draft -- still supported the war, compared with just 31 percent of Americans over 50.