It's the most wonderful time of the year. And a large part of what makes it so goldarn fabulous is the festive array of idiosyncratic traditions each family imprints on their holiday gene map like a candy cane tattoo on the soft flesh behind your knee.
Stocks rose Wednesday following the Federal Reserve's announcement of the first interest rate increase since 2006. However, stocks fell just two days later. One reason the positive reaction to the Fed's announcement did not last long is that the Fed seems to lack confidence in the economy and is unsure what policies it should adopt in the future.
Kids who still believe in Santa Claus have the best Christmas experience. That seems an appropriate reward for toddlers who think that a bearded old man who likes to hang out alone at shopping malls is cool. Then throw in that he knows when you are sleeping, knows when you're awake, and then enters your house in the middle of the night by way of your chimney. Any child these days who can suspend that kind of reality deserves a great Christmas. And any man who actually attempted such a thing would be delivering presents at Leavenworth and sharing ...
There's a technique in politics I call the "Soft Landing Straddle" that politicians love because it helps them avoid unpleasant election consequences. This year in Virginia we have an example of the straddle, but first let me explain how it works and the negative effect it has on you.
Donald Trump has not been deterred, much to the chagrin of his bipartisan troupe of naysayers. The Donald's blunt stance on Muslim immigration has only won him popularity among the Republican rank-and-file, not to mention independents and moderate Democrats.
Bullies love fear. And once they sniff its smoke, the real pros know how to fuel and exploit it. They are always claiming to represent the greater good, when what they really specialize in is looking out for #1 while flinging loads of #2 at the rest of us. Consequently, the people most susceptible to their reviled reveille are the weak, the ignorant, the powerless, other bullies and folks with neck tattoos.
Judging by his prime-time speech last week, the final year of Barack Obama's presidency will be marked by increased militarism abroad and authoritarianism at home. The centerpiece of the president's speech was his demand for a new law forbidding anyone on the federal government's terrorist watch list from purchasing a firearm. There has never been a mass shooter who was on the terrorist watch list, so this proposal will not increase security. However, it will decrease liberty.
If you are under the age of 40 and have ever discussed politics with your peers, you have no doubt encountered those who identify as Republican but are quick to tell you that they are not like those other anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-science, anti-Muslim, right-wing extremists. They only vote Republican for the tax cuts.
Liberals have good reason to love Stephen Colbert. He is unabashedly a "big government liberal." He isn't funny like Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel, and he doesn't need to be to maintain his third place ranking in the late night talk show competition.