"President Obama has been among the most merciless presidents in the history of the United States," political science professor P.S. Ruckman wrote on his blog, "Pardon Power," over the weekend.
I'm not your usual Rand Paul fan. But intellectual honesty is a pretty refreshing trait in Washington, and in this case, it had the added attraction of being a much-needed jolt to a sort of complacency about civil liberties under a nice Democratic administration that seems to have overtaken the left.
As a conservative with gay friends, nothing would make me happier than to watch Californians pass an initiative to legalize same-sex marriage - preferably with protections for religious objectors. Polls suggest it would pass today. Then the issue would be settled, and Californians - not a court in Washington - would have determined their own marriage laws.
Sometimes it's hard to measure the distance between the supposedly established, respectable press and the seediest corners of hardcore pornography. On March 1, ABC's "Nightline" celebrated a porn star named "James Deen" (real name: Bryan Sevilla). The apparent "news" hook is his role in a forthcoming movie with the ever-more pathetic Lindsay Lohan.
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman traveled to communist North Korea, a trip financed by a documentary filmmaker. Rodman appeared neither officially nor unofficially as part of the U.S. government.
Here's some unexpected news.
President Obama may be backing away from his doomsday spending-cut predictions as the sequester goes into place. But the new party line is that while there will be no impact in the first few days, there'll be a slow, downward slump after that.
WASHINGTON - The screeching you hear in Washington is the sound of politicians slamming their mouths into reverse as they back away from their previous positions on the misnamed "budget sequester." For weeks now, we have been told that an $85 billion reduction in the rate of increase in federal spending - a 2.4 percent cut - will have devastating consequences for our nation.
The Postal Service says it's going to stop delivering mail on Saturdays. This won't happen until August, but the overseers of our postal workers in Congress are already swooning.
Weeks before the Oscars, Sony Pictures, the studio behind "Zero Dark Thirty," put out this statement: "We are outraged that any responsible member of the Academy would use their voting status in (the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences) as a platform to advance their own political agenda. The film should be judged free of partisanship. To punish an artist's right of expression is abhorrent. This community, more than any other, should know how reprehensible that is."
While we sports fans regularly lionize the stars of pro baseball, football, basketball, etc., it's time to acknowledge that the team executives and owners are also great athletes of a different sort. They routinely make dazzling off-the-field moves.
DEAR DIDI: I got my amazing dog, a Dalmation, five years ago. My husband and I were not blessed with children, so Dougy has been cherished. With the change in the economy I was forced to rejoin the work force last year. I am concerned about Dougy staying home alone every day and his quality of life but can't imagine our life without him either. Any suggestions? -Lots of Spots in French Camp
Inside the Beltway, everybody's talking about sequestration - and not only about whether it will happen (various supposed "high-level" sources say they are not optimistic that it will be avoided) and what it will mean, but also - it being the Beltway - which side of the aisle will pay the price.
There is a rule in Politics 2013 that's evident in the flap about a White House aide's maybe threatening or not threatening Washington Post veteran reporter Bob Woodward. The rule: The more superficial the brouhaha the bigger its impact.
"Why did the Soviet Union disintegrate? Why did the Soviet Communist Party collapse? An important reason was that their ideals and convictions wavered," China's new leader, Xi Jinping, told a closed meeting of party elite in Guangdong province.
Congress, which had been so tied up in a partisan knot by right-wing extremists that it became unable to move, suddenly sprang loose at the end of the year. Before heading home for the holidays, it put on a phenomenal show of acrobatic lawmaking.
For the third time, the cops of the NYPD have turned their backs on the mayor of New York.
While last year's voters put a pack of reactionaries in charge of the new Congress, let's not forget that bigger majorities of the same electorate leapt at the chance to say "yes" to an array of unabashedly progressive ballot initiatives.
"The Interview" is a funny movie that does a stand-up job showcasing how a not particularly serious or informed person would deal with Kim Jong Un - and evil itself, with all its blandishments. James Franco plays talk show host Dave Skylark, who discovers that the North Korean dictator loves his show. Skylark's susceptibility to flattery renders him willfully blind. Because Kim plays up to him, Skylark wants to believe that the phony grocery his chauffeured car happens to drive by is real, that reports that Kim starves his people are the result of media bias and that Kim, like ...
The past month of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the Winter Solstice, our hearts grew warmer and our thoughts turned to kindness and goodwill toward all.
In July of 1870, King Wilhelm sent Foreign Minister Bismarck an account of his meeting with a French envoy who had demanded that the king renounce any Hohenzollern claim to the Spanish throne.
It has become a never-ending quest to define millennials. Those between the age of 18 and 34 are often portrayed as a self-absorbed, narcissistic generation obsessed with technology. They are a group more likely to check their Twitter or Instagram apps than keep up with world events. In fact, voters age 18-29 made up a mere 13 percent of the vote in this month's mid-term elections.
Peace on Earth, good will toward men. We honor these noble values every holiday season - and some people actually work to advance them all year long.
"NYPD, KKK, How many kids did you kill today?"
An old bumper sticker offered a stinging response to the Bush-Cheney regime's enthusiasm for waterboarding: "Impeach Bush," it urged. "Torture Cheney."
There are 250 million Christians in America today, but most seem to be oblivious of the fact that they and their religion are under steady attack from those who apparently hate Christianity, or at least want to expunge Christianity from any public place or mention. That hatred seems to extend to all sorts of evidences of Christianity in our society, such as Christmas, which is a federal holiday.
Do you - or does anyone - really need a book of rules and a three-hour briefing to do your job ethically?
I have a theory as to why Americans don't worry all that much about global warming: High-profile purveyors of climate change don't push for reductions in greenhouse gases so much as focus on berating people who do not agree with their opinions. They call themselves champions of "the science" yet focus on ideology more than tangible results.
The celebrations in Havana and the sullen silence in Miami tell you all you need to know about who won this round with Castro's Cuba.
The spooks are spooked.