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.
Given the expectations raised by the Republican punditocracy - that Mitt was headed for a big victory - the jolt of defeat hit especially hard.
Remember the horrible murders in 1978 of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk? At the killer's trial, his lawyer argued for leniency, saying that a steady diet of junk food had addled his client's brain – a claim that entered the annals of jurisprudence as the "Twinkie Defense."
I am at war with my phone company. Compared with real wars, it is a nothing war, a luxury war. But every time I walk into my house, I face my enemy: a dead phone.
Those who say we should run government like a business must not be frequent flyers.
Ah, the hypocrisy of tax-hikers who do everything they can to avoid the taxes they wish to impose on others.
There's money to be made in wind and solar power, but so far, not very much. And that's the way fossil fuel giants aim to keep it. As of today, they're winning the energy battle because federal subsidies for renewable energy are about to expire, unlike Uncle Sam's giveaways to the oil, gas, coal, and nuclear industries.
Those who thought ObamaCare was set in concrete by Chief Justice John Roberts' decision last June are in for a shock. December 14 is the new deadline (extended from November 16) for states to let the feds know, yea or nay, whether or not they will be setting up a health insurance exchange, which is the key to participating in the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The biggest story in Washington is about something that doesn't really exist: the so-called "fiscal cliff." This manufactured panic is all about politicians and corporate interests getting things they want - things that don't have much to do with the "crisis" anyway. But instead of challenging this spin, big media outlets are playing along.
While America's CEOs are fretting about the government's so-called "fiscal cliff," millions of American workers face a financial disaster that gets much less media attention. There's a half-trillion-dollar deficit in the nation's worker retirement benefits.
We know the news flash: On Saturday morning, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend, then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and shot himself in the head in the parking lot in front of his coaches. To liberals like NBC sportscaster Bob Costas, this was not just a crisis. It was also an opportunity.
Take a moment and look around you. Look up. The sky hasn't fallen, has it? People in Colorado are buying marijuana - legally - and civilization hasn't come crashing to its knees.
My wishfully thinking Democratic friends are hoping that Bridgegate will sink the presidential ambitions of "frontrunner" Chris Christie, the New Jersey governor whose independent streak and straight-talking authenticity have earned him the mostly meaningless crown three years out.
CNN's Candy Crowley seems absolutely, positively astonished that Republicans could oppose raising the minimum wage and extending unemployment benefits.
It's still a mystery how Santa Claus got it down the chimney, but Bastrop got a Christmas present boys can only dream about: a big honking, steel-clad, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) truck.
In 2014, 25 million to 30 million Americans with employer-provided health insurance are likely to lose it, thanks to Obamacare's requirement that all plans cover what Washington deems "essential benefits." Some employers will consider this unaffordable, so after their current lower-cost plans expire over the course of the year, they'll drop coverage altogether.
My cousin Ben, may he rest in peace, told me years ago that he was having terrible dreams about his house going up in flames, and the firefighter is there but can't save him because she's a woman. As the feminist lawyer in the family, I was surely to blame.
The Democrats have selected raising the minimum wage as THE issue to protect them from public opposition to the Obamacare fiasco, which is dimming their prospects for retaining the Senate in the 2014 elections. But raising the minimum wage may actually be worth considering if it has the side benefit of cutting the gigantic total of our hidden welfare programs.
In this wicked world of woe, there are hucksters, flimflammers, plain ol' crooks…and Republican members of the California Assembly.
Smoking Marlboros is now forbidden in Irish bars in New York City. But buying, selling, and smoking marijuana is legal in Colorado.