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.
"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."
Former IRS official Lois Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right Wednesday not to incriminate herself when she testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the IRS targeting of tea party groups.
A few weeks ago, the woman next to me on a Southwest flight from Los Angeles to San Jose said she was going north to have her hair done. For a moment, I indulged myself. Imagine a life where you have the freedom to get on a plane on a Thursday to have your hair done. I felt self-righteous and hardworking, for at least the 90 seconds that elapsed before the woman told me the whole truth. She was also going north to tend to the garden she and her family planted at the site where her 17-year-old son drove ...
If a teenager were zipping around Amazon.com looking for "a reliable guide to the turbulent physical and social transitions of adolescence," would that child want to first consult a 76-year-old grandmother who's had three unsuccessful marriages?
OK, climate change deniers. This has gone too far.
Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, set out to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in 2010 in a "spirit of cultural appreciation." It didn't work out that way.
Ted Nugent apologized. Now it's Spike Lee's turn.
Many people said ho-hum when President Barack Obama threatened to change any law with his pen or phone, and even use that power to personally alter Obamacare and the welfare law, and to "legislate" the Dream Act that Congress refused to pass. But Americans are rising up by the tens of thousands to stop Common Core, which is the current attempt to compel all U.S. children to be taught the same material and not other things parents might think important.
When he came to Washington in 1981, Ronald Reagan made much of his commitment to the "new federalism," which in that case, like so many others, had very little to do with federalism. As later detailed by former Office of Management and Budget head David Stockman, in the name of federalism, the Reagan administration sought to dismantle federal social welfare programs that conservatives opposed, claiming it was an issue of whether state or federal government should be in charge. The problem, as soon became apparent, was that giving states new responsibilities without new funding sources meant you were shrinking government ...
It is a happy conceit in the climate change community that true believers are sophisticated, fact-based practitioners of science and that skeptics essentially are a bunch of superstitious nitwits who refuse to respect the - all bow - climate change consensus.
The Obamas have had few more obsequious media allies than NBC's Jimmy Fallon. Now that he's taking over the hallowed ground of "The Tonight Show," Fallon's proven ability to spread his reach into viral videos on YouTube promises to become even more politically potent.
This is not exactly a newsflash in my house, where, before he left for college, my son had to teach me how to turn on the TV. The thing is, I really don't want to watch the Olympics, even though I spent many of my happier childhood hours watching figure skating on the black-and-white.