Abandon all hope, ye who watch the "fiscal cliff" drama.
WASHINGTON - It's "Auld Lang Syne" time again. Robert Burns is credited with "collecting" the lyrics for the old Scottish drinking and dancing ballad that's become a traditional part of New Year's festivities. The most memorable verses - "should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind" and the chorus, "for auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we'll take a cup o' kindness yet for auld lang syne" - are often described as reminders of "the good old times" amid new beginnings. That's a tough task this year. Saying goodbye to 2012 won't ...
To a black ESPN sports analyst, this is the critical question: Is Robert Griffin III, aka RG III, the black rookie sensation Washington Redskins quarterback, "a brother, or is he a cornball brother?" What has RG III done or said to raise a suspicion about his bona fides as a black person? More importantly, what does this have to do with appreciating - or choosing not to appreciate - Griffin as an athlete?
When you lose an election, you get frustrated. When you're sitting in a subpar 2 percent economy, and are faced with tax hikes rather than marginal rate reductions, you get even more frustrated. And when you're staring at $47 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, and $8.6 trillion in deficits, your frustration levels climb even higher.
A "serious" proposal is one that has a reasonable expectation of resolving a conflict. Anyone studying Speaker Boehner's Plan B proposal knows it wasn't serious. Why are so many defending it and bemoaning its defeat?
The following is reprinted from the editorial page of the New York Sun. The editorial first appeared in 1897.
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."
That is how one unnamed official described the military option in Iraq, on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014.
At the end of the Cold War, Francis Fukuyama famously wrote that our world may be at the "end of history" where "Western liberal democracy" becomes "the final form of human government."
It has been a summer of remembrance.
Back in the 1950s, C.S. Lewis saw chastity as under attack with "all the contemporary propaganda for lust that makes people "feel that the desires we are resisting are so 'natural,' so 'healthy,' and so reasonable, that it is almost perverse and abnormal to resist them."
The (well-funded, I am sure) opposition to San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener's ballot measure to tax soda and other sugary drinks calls itself the Coalition for an Affordable City. Its website features owners of corner markets explaining how the proposed tax would hurt their businesses and expressing their bewilderment at City Hall's picking on hardworking merchants.
There is no white Republican elected official today who is coming close to Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's effort to reach out to black voters.
In June, President Barack Obama sent a letter to Congress asking for help to address the surge of illegal crossings at the Texas-Mexico border. Among other items, Obama asked Congress to grant him the legal authority "to exercise discretion in processing the return and removal of unaccompanied minor children from non-contiguous countries like Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador."
Last week, by 2-1 vote, a Washington, D.C., appellate panel ruled that the Obama administration unlawfully changed Obamacare. Meanwhile, on the same day, on the same question, a panel from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the other way. This issue is headed for the Supreme Court.
Anyone who thinks the cultural left is going to stop its political correctness with the Washington Redskins isn't reading USA Today. On the top of their Sports front page on July 22, the paper reported on activists taking a stand against "redface," championing a group called Eradicating Offensive Indian Mascotry.
The New York Times has seen the light. On Sunday, the paper editorialized in favor of an end to the federal ban on marijuana. According to Tony Newman of the Drug Policy Alliance, The Gray Lady has become the first major national newspaper to support legalizing marijuana.
When I heard our Congress critters are taking an extended vacation for all of August and part of September, I had two incongruous reactions: gratitude and anger.
The FBI's motto is "Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity." But given the FBI sting against Raymond "Shrimp Boy" Chow - a convicted felon who was freed from prison in 2003 because the feds got him to testify against a confederate - I suspect that a more apt motto might be "Fuggedaboutit."
The "crossfire" mentality that defines public discourse today has the obvious problem of ignoring the fact that most of us land somewhere in the middle, turning every debate into a shouting contest between the extremists who generate passion and ratings, and rarely reflecting the views of the majority in the middle. I've been saying for years that it might be just as entertaining, and certainly more productive, to see where ideological opposites find common ground. But until someone actually attempts it, we will keep spiraling down into extremism and incivility.