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.
"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.
Obamacare is a fiasco. Why don't the media acknowledge that? And it's fair to ask: Why don't they ridicule it? After all, in the Bush years, the press reran President George W. Bush in front of the "Mission Accomplished" banner time and again, did they not? Perhaps Joe Biden at the signing ceremony saying into an open mic that this was a "big (blanking) deal" would suffice.
A week ago, in the St. George's Hall in the Kremlin, Russia's elite cheered and wept as Vladimir Putin announced the re-annexation of Crimea. Seven in 10 Russians approve of Putin's rule.
As a Californian, I have not gotten too much sympathy from friends and family about our rotten weather this winter. Yes, I said rotten weather. It's been incredibly pleasant- except for a few times when the temperature crept up to 90 - but we've hardly had any rain.
Actor-turned-producer Robert Redford boasts that his new CNN series, "Death Row Stories," is "about the search for justice and truth." That's odd, because the series has aired three episodes and they're all about victims of prosecutorial abuse. So far, nobody's really guilty. The second episode features a woman who never spent a night on death row.
Of course Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg is right to point out that "bossy," the other B-word, is often used to discourage girls - and later women - from becoming leaders. "Words like bossy send a message: don't raise your hand or speak up," says the website of her "Ban Bossy" campaign. "By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys - a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead."
Even though it was in Burlingame, one might have expected the California Republican Party's weekend convention to feel a bit like the last days of Pompeii. The Dems hold every statewide office and control both houses of the Legislature. Still, GOP Chairman Jim Brulte managed to halt an orgy of panic.
The other day, this story hit the New Media. It's one the Old Media will simply never report.
The homeownership rate is declining while rents rise and hedge funds snap up thousands of foreclosed homes.
In the last stanza of "The Battle of Blenheim," Robert Southey writes:
Medical science has long known that the optic nerve runs from the retina of our eyeballs to the visual cortex of our brains, letting us see what's going on around us.
Though Barack Obama is widely regarded as a weak president, is the new world disorder really all his fault?
It didn't take very long for the smiling sports fan cheering in the Olympic stands to revert to his true nature. I'm referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the former KGB leader whose idea of diplomacy is sending in the troops.
"It is time to give America a raise," President Barack Obama proclaimed in support of his proposal to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 by 2016.
In assessing the motives and actions of Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton compared them to Adolf Hitler's. Almost always a mistake.
Sometimes, a news story can be so crammed with irony that it boggles the mind. Consider just the headline on one such story that ran recently in my town's daily paper: "Man gets 10 years for defrauding banks."