While details are still emerging about Aaron Alexis, the man responsible for killing 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard, this much is already clear. This man never should have had a security clearance that allowed him to enter the Yard. And he never should have been permitted to buy a gun.
President Obama barely noticed, but there was a horrific mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard on Monday. In what has become a signature of this administration, a tone-deaf Obama pressed ahead with his plans to attack the tea party Republicans at an event marking five years since the financial crisis erupted.
Sen. Barbara Boxer had been appealing to my better instincts as she never had before. The Democrat from California provided a crucial vote in favor of a resolution sought by President Barack Obama to authorize the use of military force in Syria. Boxer voted for military force even though that position was highly unpopular among her constituents.
The California Legislature pointed a giant middle finger at Bay Area commuters by naming the western span of the Bay Bridge after San Francisco Chronicle columnist Willie Brown even though, as San Francisco's mayor, Brown unconscionably delayed reconstruction of the seismically challenged eastern span and helped drive the project's cost from $1.5 billion to $6.4 billion?
When Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana announced last Friday that he would vote against Larry Summers' putative candidacy for Fed chairman if it came before the Senate Banking Committee, he put a dagger in Summers' Fed career before it even started. Tester would have made the fourth Democratic nay vote in the committee, and it is highly unlikely that Republicans would have taken up the slack to push through a Summers nomination.
Political support for traditional marriage seemed to evaporate in the summer of 2013. The U.S. Supreme Court did not rule that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, but the homosexuals are behaving as though it did and filing lawsuits in many states to expand the court's decision, while the advocates of traditional marriage have retreated into silence.
In 2012, the federal government paid some $5 billion in direct payments to farmers of wheat, corn, barley, oats, cotton, rice, soybeans, peanuts and other crops - except the recipients cannot all be farmers. According to the Environmental Working Group, 116 of those tillers of the earth reside in San Francisco. For their farming activities, they pocketed $446,302.
Earlier this month, hell came to the tiny Christian village of Maaloula where they still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
If you cobble together every major decision that President Barack Obama has had to make since he entered the Oval Office, none has been more perplexing and difficult as the decision to strike Syria for using chemical weapons on its own people.
Sen. Barack Obama snatched the 2008 democratic nomination from Sen. Hillary Clinton for many reasons, none more important than Obama's opposition to the Iraq War.
I haven't heard such enthusiastic, downright raucous applause since Texas Gov. "Oops" Perry suggested in 2009 that his state just might withdraw from the union. Unfortunately for him, the applauders weren't Texans. They were the people of the other 49 states.
In 2007, then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led a congressional visit to Damascus, where she met with Syrian President Bashar Assad. "We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace," Pelosi famously proclaimed. She met with Assad in defiance of then-President George W. Bush and his efforts to isolate Syria for its role as a "state sponsor of terror."
I was just fine with the line in the sand. In a civilized world, there must be some line. If not chemical weapons, where?
Why would someone who opposes draconian federal mandatory minimum sentences oppose efforts to cut California's prison population by about 9,600 inmates? Because the federal system and the California system are two different animals.
There have to be lines.
In 2012, according to the CDC, 140 blacks were killed by police. That same year 386 whites were killed by police. Over the 13-year period from 1999 to 2011, the CDC reports that 2,151 whites were killed by cops - and 1,130 blacks were killed by cops.
Ask anyone under 40 to identify Paul McCartney or "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and the odds are you'll get a blank look in return. Ask someone under 30 to describe the Soviet menace and you may well get the same response. The first one is harmless ignorance, and some might argue the second one is as well. After all, it's over and we won, right?
When America was hit on 9/11, the world united around us. France just had its 9/11, and again the civilized world has come together, all except the United States. Where were America's leaders as the rest of the world united?
I love women. I've always loved women.
Minutes to midnight on New Year's Eve, I sat around a fire with friends, discussing plans for 2015. I told them mine: to hike over 200 miles on the John Muir Trail through the High Sierras, by myself.
Here's what I love about the French: They've long understood the dangers presented by radical Islam. French President Francois Hollande swiftly called the deadly Wednesday shooting at Paris' Charlie Hebdo magazine "an act of exceptional barbarity," without doubt a terrorist attack. There was no hedging. The Socialist leader didn't engage in the sort of blather White House spokesman Josh Earnest offered on MSNBC shortly after the shootings. Earnest called the attack a "terrible act of violence," but not necessarily terrorism.
Congress, which had been so tied up in a partisan knot by right-wing extremists that it became unable to move, suddenly sprang loose at the end of the year. Before heading home for the holidays, it put on a phenomenal show of acrobatic lawmaking.
For the third time, the cops of the NYPD have turned their backs on the mayor of New York.
While last year's voters put a pack of reactionaries in charge of the new Congress, let's not forget that bigger majorities of the same electorate leapt at the chance to say "yes" to an array of unabashedly progressive ballot initiatives.
"The Interview" is a funny movie that does a stand-up job showcasing how a not particularly serious or informed person would deal with Kim Jong Un - and evil itself, with all its blandishments. James Franco plays talk show host Dave Skylark, who discovers that the North Korean dictator loves his show. Skylark's susceptibility to flattery renders him willfully blind. Because Kim plays up to him, Skylark wants to believe that the phony grocery his chauffeured car happens to drive by is real, that reports that Kim starves his people are the result of media bias and that Kim, like ...
The past month of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the Winter Solstice, our hearts grew warmer and our thoughts turned to kindness and goodwill toward all.
In July of 1870, King Wilhelm sent Foreign Minister Bismarck an account of his meeting with a French envoy who had demanded that the king renounce any Hohenzollern claim to the Spanish throne.
It has become a never-ending quest to define millennials. Those between the age of 18 and 34 are often portrayed as a self-absorbed, narcissistic generation obsessed with technology. They are a group more likely to check their Twitter or Instagram apps than keep up with world events. In fact, voters age 18-29 made up a mere 13 percent of the vote in this month's mid-term elections.