It's too hard to try and make sense of a senseless event. Adam Lanza's merciless slaughter in Connecticut has forced everyone with a microphone to insist we have a "national conversation" about why this happens.
The year 2012 was defined by the calculated re-emergence of Obama worship, no matter how obvious his failures in office. After his re-election, the actor Jamie Foxx let it all hang out in a tribute at the BET Awards on November 25: "First of all, give an honor to God and our lord and savior, Barack Obama!"
Despite all the media hullabaloo about the fiscal cliff and a potential recession if none of the Bush tax cuts are extended, stock markets have behaved calmly throughout this whole period.
In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., tragedy, every politician who has me on their email list - and there are many, on both sides of the aisle - has been filling my inbox. All of the messages begin with the requisite expression of shock and horror, the business of sending out our hearts and prayers to those who mourn. Then the gun control advocates insist that now is the time for congressional action, and the opponents caution that no legislation is going to stop people (not guns) from killing.
While some prominent Republicans appear to be more open to raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans as part of a budget deal that would keep us from tumbling off the so-called "fiscal cliff," others are digging their heels in deeper.
On Friday, a heavily armed young man walked into a Connecticut elementary school and murdered 20 first-graders and six adults before he killed himself. Even in a country inured to gun violence, this crime is too heinous to contemplate.
Michigan is no longer a state. It is now "Michiganistan," an autocratic czardom in the hands of Emperor Rick Snyder.
"No set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society."
President Barack Obama in 2008, and again during the 2012 election, promised absolutely, positively no tax hikes on the middle class. The rich, however, must pay more: "It's not me being stubborn, it's not me being partisan - it's just a matter of math."
"Mandatory sentences breed injustice," Judge Roger Vinson told the New York Times. A Ronald Reagan appointee to the federal bench in Florida, Vinson was railing against a federal system that forced him to sentence a 27-year-old single mother to prison life without parole because her dealer ex-boyfriend had stored cocaine in her house.
Those who say we should run government like a business must not be frequent flyers.
When you think about it, it's amazing that the high-minded swells at the University of California didn't unveil a new logo sooner. The old logo, which will continue to appear on diplomas and official letters, features the school motto, "Let there be light." Ancient. An English translation of a Latin phrase. And a book. Dead-tree lit. 1868? Dead white guys. Under a star. Too militaristic.
Here we are on brink of a major historical moment. We're beginning to wind down the longest period of war in our history. And we're about to turn around a 13-year-long surge in Pentagon spending.
Christmas in my home city of Santa Monica is different this year. It used to be that there were elaborate displays depicting the birth of Jesus in the big public park by the ocean. I've always believed that Christmas is a major religious holiday, and the display reflected that. According to people who know more about such things than I do, the large dioramas told the story of Jesus' birth according to the Gospels of Luke and Matthew.
As the white flag rises above Republican redoubts, offering a surrender on taxes, the mind goes back to what seemed a worse time for conservatives: December 1964.
Do you remember Cory Remsburg? He's the Army Ranger who received a standing ovation from Congress during President Barack Obama's State of the Union address in January.
The sweet-swinging Detroit Tigers infielder Miguel Cabrera may or may not turn out to be, by the time he retires, the best hitter in baseball history. But Cabrera already holds a historic distinction Just before the opening day of the 2014 baseball season, the 31-year-old slugger became America's highest-paid professional ballplayer ever.
When Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Empire an "evil empire," the phrase reflected his conviction that while the East-West struggle was indeed a global geostrategic conflict, it had a deep moral dimension.
In the "Star Trek" movies, San Francisco serves as headquarters of Starfleet Command. This cracks me up to no end, as I cannot imagine the Board of Supervisors approving construction of Starfleet Academy or the oddly shaped high-rises you see in the background. And if City Hall somehow did approve the project, you know there'd be some ballot measure to kill the deal. The grounds could be endless: No photon torpedoes. Too many techies already. What about affordable housing?
My guess is that Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican Party's highly touted budget guru, doesn't have a very tight grip on the concept of irony.
If the Rev. Al Sharpton, the bigoted, anti-Semitic, non-tax paying race-hustling poverty pimp, had any credibility left, it just vanished.
Let's review the rap sheet of Wall Street banks: defrauding investors, cheating homeowners, money laundering, rigging markets, tax evasion, credit card ripoffs… and so sickeningly much more.
As I walked into the pharmacy, the technician who has kept track of all of my prescriptions for years was on an endless call trying to figure out who is going to deliver her baby and where.
Millions of Americans file their federal income tax returns by April 15 each year with no idea what the government actually does with all that money.
Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy and his well-armed supporters forced the well-armed federal government to back down and return Bundy's seized cows - which were seized because Bundy, 67, stopped paying grazing fees in 1993. How does anyone get the government to back down?
On our TV talk shows and op-ed pages, and in our think tanks here, there is rising alarm over events abroad. And President Obama is widely blamed for the perceived decline in worldwide respect for the United States.
On April 1, Washington Mayor Vincent Gray was denied a second term, defeated in the primary by upstart city councilwoman Muriel Bowser. The beginning of the end came on March 10, when U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen struck a plea bargain with a wealthy businessman who confessed he'd spent $668,000 on an illegal "shadow campaign" to fund get-out-the-vote efforts that helped Gray win the mayoral office in 2010.
The Social Security Disability Insurance program is in big trouble. In 2016, the program's trust fund is expected to run out of money. When that happens, there will be "large across-the-board cuts for all beneficiaries," warn James Lankford, the Republican chairman of the House subcommittee that oversees entitlements, and Jackie Speier, the subcommittee's ranking Democrat. Those cuts will be painful for the "truly disabled," whom the system originally was designed to serve.
I know I shouldn't be, but I am shocked by Americans' laziness.
"There is a gay mafia," said Bill Maher, "if you cross them you do get whacked."