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.
The brilliant actor Benedict Cumberbatch is in hot water for getting his words wrong. Appearing on Tavis Smiley's show, the Oscar-nominated star of "The Imitation Game" took a strong stand in favor of greater diversity in Hollywood.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters descend on Washington every January to "March for Life," protesting the horror of more than a million abortions in America every year. Every year the "news" outlets report next to nothing, even when their reporters are there documenting the event as their cameras film it.
The Super Bowl is well timed. It comes mid-winter, a month after our New Year's resolutions begin deflating, when the market is teetering, our finances are squeezed, and the collections agencies calling day and night. For those who were fortunate to make some income last year, the 1099's or W-2s arrive, and we brace ourselves to face off with the IRS.
So why is it that while other states are now enjoying gas prices of less than $2 per gallon, California is still paying higher prices?
First lady Michelle Obama made an important statement when she showed up in Saudi Arabia with her husband Tuesday to mourn the death of King Abdullah and meet successor King Salman. Though the first lady dressed in a fashion respectful of Saudi custom - in black pants and a long, loose jacket that fully covered her arms and legs - she did not don a headscarf. Saudi women do not have that choice. Thus, the first lady made a fashion statement that sent a politely assertive message to the all-male Saudi delegation.
Within hours after the Supreme Court announced it would decide whether the Constitution requires every state to recognize marriages between persons of the same sex, the New York Times published an editorial gleefully predicting the inevitable outcome. When its ruling comes down in June, the Times assures us, the Supreme Court will "end the debate once and for all."
As messed up as it sounds, in the unending struggle for justice, there is such thing as a "positive negative." This occurs when you win a struggle that you never should have had to deal with in the first place.
Jeb Bush may be the front-runner in the GOP 2016 primary. He is the son and brother of former presidents and can tap into their vaunted fundraising machines. In some eyes, the former Florida governor always was the more disciplined, thoughtful and worthy son. Maybe. But Jeb Bush also has a problem: He is a boring speaker.
"I don't believe I'm poking anyone in the eye," House Speaker John Boehner asserted Wednesday. That was after His Speakership told the media that he had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress about "the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life."
I recently addressed a rather odd topic for an audience of political progressives: "Who was your sports hero growing up?"
Where's the Clint Eastwood Million Cowboy March on Hollywood? The case for bias against Eastwood is far stronger than that of the alleged "snub" of the movie "Selma." "American Sniper," a new film directed by Clint Eastwood, set box-office records for a film opening in January. Yet he was "shut out" of the director category. Was Clint Eastwood, a white, unabashed George W. Bush-supporting Republican, a victim of political discrimination?
The New York Times published a provocative news story called "The New Math on Campus." No, it's not about the failure of Common Core to teach arithmetic; it's about the changing ratio of males to females on most college campuses.
Until recent years, marijuana prohibitionists have been able to intimidate most reform-minded politicians by simply threatening to brand them as "soft on drugs."
On Martin Luther King Day, 2015, how stand race relations in America?
One difference between top executives and worker bees is that those at the top can lower the pay of those down below while simultaneously raising their own.