LA JOLLA - Happy New Year, everybody, and God bless America.
And so we bid a not-so-fond farewell to the bow of another large unwieldy year as it sinks slowly over the horizon wobbling unsteadily towards the graveyard of memory. And cheers erupt from we folks on shore waving the double-handed "L for loser" sign above our heads. "So long. See ya. Don't let the door slam you in the butt on the way out. And if you got any brothers or sisters, don't give them this address."
BEVERLY HILLS - God bless America, and how's everybody?
The year 2012 was not my most eventful year ever but it definitely made the top ten list. I have to say, the events were mostly all life-affirming. They represented finally reaching the light at the end of a tunnel. I finished phase one of a college experience, married a wonderful man, travelled outside the United States for the first time ever, found a new and better job and moved to my new home. Of all that I left behind, the things I miss most are some very good neighbors and friends, and a really wonderful garden.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot? How 'bout the presidential campaign, the 112th Congress and Newsweek magazine? Journalists usually favor year-end recaps of news but as a public service I'm going to focus instead on the glorious months ahead, in this handy precap of 2013:
Here's my annual list looking at 2012:
HOLLYWOOD - God bless America, and how's everybody?
Sure, Paul McCartney can still sing at age 70, but have you taken a good look at his hair? During the concert to benefit victims of Sandy, and a few nights later on "Saturday Night Live," McCartney's locks were positively mesmerizing.
This year, the politically correct gestures of seasonal salutation (Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings, etc.), which for too long have served as substitutes for the real thing, have become vacuous, stale and boring. This year, somehow, they seem especially inadequate to express the sentiment we so desperately need to hear at this moment in time.
It's not tougher gun control, stupid.
It's only human nature to want to take action after such a harrowing traumatic event. To do something. Anything, to protect our kids. And make sure that Newtown never ever happens again. Here. There. Anywhere.
HOLLYWOOD - Merry Christmas, everybody, and God bless America.
Journalists often exaggerate by using the phrase "shattered lives."
HOLLYWOOD - God bless America, and how's everybody?
Ah, the holiday season is upon us. What better time to show our support for our men and women in uniform?
If you believe the recently released Senate Intelligence Committee torture report, you might be tempted to conclude that the CIA lied to the press and the public and to Congress about the extent and effectiveness of its torture campaign. And that conclusion would be correct, sir.
Would police have harassed Eric Garner or his wife if the government had no financial interest in the selling of taxed cigarettes?
Oil, like political punditry, is a commodity, traded freely on the open market and subject to the laws of supply and demand. The difference of course is that punditry enjoys an abundant and renewable supply, flows freely, and produces nothing of value. Oil, on the other hand, is actually important. The problem is that people think they are related.
The political class breathed a sigh of relief Saturday when the US Senate averted a government shutdown by passing the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill. This year's omnibus resembles omnibuses of Christmas past in that it was drafted in secret, was full of special interest deals and disguised spending increases, and was voted on before most members could read it.
Torture is illegal. Period. End of debate. There is no legal, moral or probable justification for torture. It's against the Bill of Rights; it's against the Geneva Convention; it's against United Nations Convention Against Torture (ratified by the U.S. in 1994); it's against every state statute from every modern constitutional democracy and every decent and encouraging proposal coming from humanity in the last century.
Well over two years ago, a local public figure encouraged folks to give blood because it was the selfless thing to do.
Remember Kelly Thomas?
They say there's been a recovery, but most of us haven't seen it. Our economy is creating more jobs, but they don't match the wages, benefits and working conditions of the ones we've lost. The stock market is at a historic high, but its gains seem eerily divorced from how the economy is actually performing. Unfortunately, it looks like just another speculative bubble.
Recent reports have circulated that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has not treated Kansas well. Some point to the rise in premiums, or the fixed monthly costs you pay for health insurance, and that in Kansas, the rise in these premiums is more compared to the rest of the country. Perhaps not surprisingly, given the political nature of evaluating the success of the ACA, there is disagreement by analysts over the accuracy and the relevance of the numbers.
A diverse group including concerned parents, sports fans and even the Writers Guild of America is fighting the proposed merger of media monoliths Time Warner and Comcast. The effort is spearheaded by the non-profit organization Public Knowledge, which claims the $45 billion merger would harm both the economy and our democracy.
On Tuesday December 9, disgraced Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber will face the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He has a lot to answer for.
Hey guys, Will Durst here with your eagerly awaited Top Ten Comedic News Stories of 2014.
A giant Manhattan penthouse and a summer home in the Hamptons. That was all. There was nothing Sabrina could do but plop onto her designer couch and cry.
Last week the US House voted overwhelmingly in favor of an anti-Russia resolution so full of war propaganda that it rivals the rhetoric from chilliest era of the Cold War. Ironically, much of the bill condemns Russia for doing exactly what the US government has been doing for years in Syria and Ukraine!