SAN DIEGO - It's with a chuckle that Marilinda Garcia recalls the day that her critics demanded to see her papers.
What a bizarre spectacle. Assuming he did not lie during his marathon news conference last week, the feeding frenzy surrounding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will be remembered as one of those incredibly odd moments of elite journalistic hysteria that are difficult to explain to people who weren't there or didn't get it.
WASHINGTON - As we evaluate the efficacy of the War on Poverty, a single, unquantifiable factor stubbornly demands attention: luck.
SAN DIEGO - Americans are so accustomed to conservatives imploding over the immigration issue that it's a refreshing change to see liberals struggle with it as well.
WASHINGTON - For decades, the American Studies Association has labored in well-deserved obscurity. No longer. It's now made a name for itself by voting to boycott Israeli universities, accusing them of denying academic and human rights to Palestinians.
WASHINGTON - In the days since revelations surfaced about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's office orchestrating the now-infamous George Washington Bridge lane closings, I've had at least four different reactions.
"In America," Oscar Wilde quipped, "the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience." And they often do it in the pages of Rolling Stone.
WASHINGTON - First order of business for the returning Congress: The No Bailout for Insurance Companies Act of 2014.
WASHINGTON - If you happen to be one of those who enjoy politics as a blood sport, 2014's midterm election promises to be a carnival of gore.
On Jan. 1, the Centennial State (it hasn't yet changed its nickname to "The Rocky Mountain High State") became the first place in the country to legalize marijuana sales for recreational purposes.
The Beltway consensus seems to be that 2013 was a bad year for the same reason nearly every other recent year was bad: polarization and partisanship. Personally, I can think of plenty of more important things to worry about than partisanship. Democracy is about disagreements, and partisanship is often a sign of healthy disagreement.
WASHINGTON - America's capacity for optimism and hope has been boundless through much of our short history.
SAN DIEGO - What Americans really need to kick off the new year is a dramatic improvement in our relations with India. In a world where it sometimes seems that the United States doesn't have many friends and allies, that south Asian country has become both. Most notably, since the attacks Sept. 11, 2001, India has been a partner in fighting the war on terror.
WASHINGTON - The year-end review required of all columnists inevitably brings us to the mailbag and a few clarifications.
SAN DIEGO - Given what he does for a living, it is no surprise that Rick Najera's memoir about being a Latino breaking down barriers in Hollywood reads like a good movie.
WASHINGTON - Vladimir Putin is a lucky man. And he's got three more years of luck to come.
WASHINGTON - When the going gets tough, well, why not just make the going easier?
Things are moving far too fast in Kiev, Moscow and Crimea to write about events there. But the past isn't going anywhere. Though you wouldn't know that from the way the Obama administration talks about it.
WASHINGTON - In matters cultural, California has always been America's petri dish. Whatever happened in California usually infiltrated the rest of the country.
SAN DIEGO - Selma. Mexico City. Johannesburg. Tiananmen. Tehran. Kiev. Caracas.
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's new outreach initiative to help at-risk boys of color - "My Brother's Keeper" - is cause for cheer.
WASHINGTON - Henry Kissinger once pointed out that since Peter the Great, Russia had been expanding at the rate of one Belgium per year. All undone, of course, by the collapse of the Soviet Union, which Russian President Vladimir Putin called "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the (20th) century."
Down with stakeholders.
SAN DIEGO - U.S. officials want to extradite the notorious Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, who was captured last week by Mexican marines and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents.
SAN DIEGO - I keep waiting for just one prominent Republican elected official to condemn in the strongest possible language President Barack Obama's horrendous record of deporting illegal immigrants.
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