For most of my life, Christmas has been a strange, sad and lonely day. I've raised my children the way I was raised: to respect Christmas as a religious holiday, which is to say not our holiday.
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.
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown is in an enviable position. He delivered a State of the State address Wednesday that did not require hand-wringing about ugly shortfalls and painful cuts for public schools. As he prepares to run for re-election, he doesn't even need to announce that he is running for re-election. No Democrat dares challenge the 75-year-old incumbent.
Or do we really need three?
The Hollywood blacklist, according to Wikipedia, is the term for "the mid-20th-century practice of denying employment to screenwriters, actors, directors, musicians, and other U.S. entertainment professionals because of their suspected political beliefs or associations." The blacklist spirit is alive and living in San Francisco, but here and now the enemies of free thought have a new question: Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Republican Party?
The Manteca Bulletin asked a fair question: why should the public be concerned about the Forest Service's proposal to log about 30,000 acres in the 257,000-acre Rim fire (Editorial, January 3, 2014)? The reasons are simple. The proposed logging would heavily target the rarest, most threatened, and most biologically diverse and rich forest habitat type in the Sierra Nevada-"snag forest habitat"-and it would further threaten numerous rare and declining wildlife species that depend on this habitat, including the Black-backed Woodpecker.
As Republicans, we believe that your tax dollars should be spent responsibly on the priorities that matter most such as education. But in order to properly fund those priorities, we must have a budget that lives within its means and avoids the mistakes of the past. It is refreshing to see that Governor Jerry Brown recognizes these principles in his education budget proposal.
The takeover of Fallujah by al-Qaida wipes out our costly 2004 victory in which we captured the Iraqi city at the cost of 100 Marines and soldiers killed in action, and hundreds more wounded. Fallujah isn't just an Obama mistake; it's the exemplar of Obama's disastrous foreign and military policies designed to reduce the power and prestige of America on the world stage.
Can antibiotic medicines, long hailed as miracle drugs, be too much of a good thing? Yes.
The media quickly came up with a term for the apparently politically orchestrated George Washington Bridge traffic jam: "Bridgegate." Now what catchy term do the media attach to the explosive new book castigating the incumbent wartime commander in chief? "Gatesgate"? Hardly.
Sam Berns died last week, at the age of 17.
How near death is the California Republican Party? It's this bad. Democrats hold every statewide office. Term limits have opened up a few offices; still, no serious Republican plans to run for attorney general, lieutenant governor, treasurer or controller this year. If the lead Democrat for any of those offices were to die in September, there would be no Republican in the race to win in November.
As we approach the centennial of World War I, we will read much of the blunders that produced that tragedy of Western civilization.
Perhaps you thought the political world was finally safe from the dynamic duo of Rob Ford and Trey Radel. But no. Heeeere they come, rushing back into the limelight.
Liberals are angry President Barack Obama won a second term, and yet, they didn't get the liberal agenda items they wanted passed in 2013, including gun control and amnesty for illegal aliens. The complaint at the end of the year is that this was the "least productive Congress" in 66 years, with production always being measured by the amount of legislation passed.
If I were governor of New Jersey and really wanted to know whether my staff had any involvement whatsoever in a nasty political prank that closed lanes and gridlocked traffic on the George Washington Bridge in September as payback for the Fort Lee mayor's refusal to endorse me, I would not do what Chris Christie did. That is, wait until December and then tell staffers that if they knew anything about the bridge mess, they had one hour to inform not me but my top underling or chief counsel.
In the wars she has fought, America has often allied with regimes that represented the antithesis of the cause for which we were fighting.