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.
"You've got African Americans; you've got Hispanics; you've got a bag full of money. Does that tell you - a light bulb doesn't go off in your head and say, 'This is a drug deal'?"
When Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., met with the San Francisco Chronicle's editorial board last week, she said reasonable people could pass a bill to apply $85 billion in sequester cuts more surgically. Too bad she's a member of Congress.
In the age of rapidly shortening attention spans and the mass media hopping from one story to the next, it is fairly remarkable that the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, one year ago Tuesday, continues to resonate in the consciousness of many Americans.
The Obama administration is whipping up hysteria over the sequester budget cuts and their impact on the economy, the military, first providers, and so forth and so on. Armageddon. But if you climb into the Congressional Budget Office numbers for 2013, you see a much lighter and easier picture than all the worst-case scenarios being conjured up by the administration.
In its wisdom - and yes, I am being ironic - the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco issued a ruling Tuesday that revives a California inmate lawsuit to force the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to hire a paid, full-time Wiccan chaplain. Oddly, the three-judge panel found that the complaint "did not contain sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory under the First Amendment." Nonetheless, the court overturned a federal judge's 2011 dismissal of the lawsuit.
Turning your lawn into something more beautiful and useful would save time and money while curbing pollution and water usage.
The Obama administration's assault on the Second Amendment in reaction to Newtown is not a serious solution. It's a Band-Aid on cancer. The NRA's call for armed guards in every school also misses the point. When is anyone going to get serious? The problem is violence, a violence of monstrous and horrific proportions that has infected America's popular culture.
If President Barack Obama, the Republican House and the Democratic Senate cannot cut $85 billion from this year's $3.8 trillion budget without laying off first responders, tying up airport security lines and furloughing food safety inspectors, what good are they?
At what point will the public tire of liberal journalists lamenting that the Republican Party is overwhelmingly white and thrilled about it? They've been drawing that cartoon so long surely they'll eventually run out of ink. They love their 2012 narrative that every non-white group is rushing to Obama and the left, and they want to keep it that way.
Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. The Ronald Reagan amnesty of 1986 was a conspicuous failure, and a virtually identical plan failed in 2007 when it was pushed by John McCain, Ted Kennedy and George W. Bush.
Most big retail chains treat their employees as nothing but a drain on profits.
My new book, "Dear Father, Dear Son," talks about the No. 1 social problem in America - children growing up without fathers.
The president's request for the authorization to use military force against the Islamic State has landed in a Congress as divided as the country.
Old songs occasionally need to be refreshed with updated verses.
"A steady patriot of the world alone,
President Barack Obama inserted a jarring note in his speech to the annual Prayer Breakfast by insulting Christians with an inappropriate reference to the Crusades and charging that people "committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ."
How about this year's Super Bowl, huh?
What happened to California's death penalty? There has not been an execution since 2006, when a federal judge ruled against the state's three-drug lethal injection protocol. In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld three-drug executions. It didn't matter. Though as candidates Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris - who both personally oppose capital punishment - promised to uphold the law, in real life they've let things slide. Fed up, two men related to murder victims have filed suit to push the state to carry out the law.
Kim Gunoo is a 15-year-old South Korean boy who has lived with perpetual diarrhea since birth.
If the most frequently dialed federal agency in America can't even answer two-thirds of the millions of phone calls it gets, should the government cut its budget?
Seeing clips of that 22-minute video of the immolation of the Jordanian pilot, one wonders: Who would be drawn to the cause of these barbarians who perpetrated such an atrocity?
This year marks the 102nd anniversary of the birth of Woody Guthrie, and in these hard times of tinkle-down economics, we sure could use some of his hard-hitting musical stories and inspired lyrical populism.
Life is short, so don't spend it beating yourself up.
I believe that parents should vaccinate their children. Because children are vulnerable, the media have a responsibility to inform parents about the risks involved when they don't vaccinate their children.
"Many people were inconvenienced by the Montgomery bus boycotts. Do you think Rosa Parks should pay restitution for that?" Mollie Costello hectored the Bay Area Rapid Transit board at a recent hearing. Costello is one of the Black Friday 14 - 14 protesters arrested Nov. 28 for shutting down the West Oakland BART station and four of five transit lines for three hours to protest the killing of unarmed black men by police officers.
Old songs occasionally need to be refreshed with updated verses.
I recently mentioned in a column on renewable energy that solar power could generate half of the world's electricity by 2050. I cited the International Energy Agency as my source.