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.
Bill O'Reilly asked this question on his Fox News program last week: "Why do I have to be the leader defending Christmas against its attackers?" O'Reilly was criticizing Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee's renaming his state's Christmas tree a "holiday tree."
More than 5 million young people are looking for work. College is increasingly unaffordable, while youth jobs are few and far between. For years lawmakers have been cutting programs that help young Americans find a productive path. And as if that weren't enough, budget cuts scheduled for 2013 may hollow out what's left of federal education and training programs.
San Francisco's board of supervisors is considering a proposal to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in some city elections, showing how desperate the left wing of the city's left wing is to retain their ebbing power in City Hall. Clearly Supervisor John Avalos and ally Supervisor Eric Mar fear they need to register minors to win elections.
What was Ryan Giroux doing free on the streets of a Phoenix suburb - free, that is, to go on a shooting rampage that killed one person, left five more injured and traumatized countless witnesses?
Mixed in with the excitement of fishing with friends on my old California rivers came a single nightmare.
In November 1956, President Eisenhower, enraged he had not been forewarned of their invasion of Egypt, ordered the British, French and Israelis to get out of Suez and Sinai. They did as told.
Good news from the front: The defenders of the Alamo are standing strong, bravely battling the forces of tyranny!
Here's the short answer: Anything.
Back when political polls were reporting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was likely to lose power in Tuesday's election, I figured that Bibi must have overplayed his hand when he spoke before Congress at the invitation of House Speaker John Boehner and against the wishes of President Obama. I assumed he had miscalculated, and that the gambit would backfire with Israeli voters.
On March 10, eight days after The New York Times began the scandal over her private email server, Hillary Clinton assembled the press at the United Nations in New York to offer a typically legalistic and crabby press conference lasting only 21 minutes. The first-blush reaction from the pundits? That wasn't good enough. She can't expect the story to go away just from that mess.
Last year, Congress passed an amendment that barred the Department of Justice from using federal dollars to prosecute medical marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized them. Last week, three senators proposed a measure to clean up the federal-state medical marijuana mess once and for all.
My roommates in the course of several hospital stays deserve to have their stories, or at least part of them, in print.
General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of staff, wants to honor a particular military hero.
I understand why University of Oklahoma President David Boren chose to expel two students for singing a vile, racist ditty at a fraternity event. There is nothing funny about lyrics that make light of lynching and repeat the N-word. If students did that at a university that I administered, I'd want to toss them out, too.
The NBA consists of 76 percent black players. But blacks are just 13 percent of the country. Clearly, the league engages in racial discrimination against whites. Silly, right? Well, this is exactly what the sleight-of-hand Department of Justice pulled off to find that the Ferguson Police Department engages in "implicit and explicit racial bias"!
As Hillary Clinton took questions from the media about the personal email account she used as secretary of state, I felt a flashback coming on. She said she simply chose to use a personal account with a personal server "for convenience." I felt I had traveled back in time to 1998. Washington was screaming across the aisle. First lady Hillary Clinton charged that a "vast right-wing conspiracy" was behind stories that her husband had an affair with Monica Lewinsky. President Bill Clinton denied that he ever had "sexual relations" with the former intern.
It's always nice to know, as I sit here writing, that somebody out there might be listening. This week, I know for sure. My last column essentially asked: What's the big deal about Hillary's emails if she's turning them over anyway?