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 - The lie of the year, according to Politifact, is "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it." But the story of the year is a nation waking up to just how radical Obamacare is - which is why it required such outright deception to get it passed in the first place.
So rednecks need to be politically correct now?
When will the insurers revolt?
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.
WASHINGTON - I repeat: I'm not a global warming believer. I'm not a global warming denier. I've long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists.
WASHINGTON - We've heard much about the Republican war on women. Exhaustingly.
Of all the time-honored failings for which we criticize sitting presidents - by "we" I mean pundits, academics and other members of the chattering phylum - two charges stand out: imperialism and shrinkage. Usually it's one or the other.
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