It's here! While we've been treated to advertisements, store promotions, and an occasional seasonal song since before Halloween, there is no doubt that the Christmas season has finally landed.
The Legislature is in recess until January and I've enjoyed my time home, but it's been anything but a break.
Now that we've officially made it through Thanksgiving, it's time to get serious about enjoying the holidays - once you've finished your Black Friday shopping, that is.
As The Signal Editorial Board wrote on Nov. 10, the local chloride salt scam drama ended, for now, with a big flip flop.
What happened to manners? Have etiquette and common decency gone away? Where did all the considerate people go?
Congressman Buck McKeon recently sent an "E-News Update" to constituents, unsuccessfully comparing the Affordable Care Act standards to an imaginary government-run airline requiring all air passengers to travel first class. It was a horrendously flawed analogy, exposing McKeon's insensitivities to the devastating, bankrupting problems of "old way" medical coverage. It was one more round of Republican weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth without the slightest effort to suggest anything constructive.
The political tumult and recent media craziness surrounding the rocky start to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act ignore this reality: We already have "universal" healthcare in this country.
Seemingly disconnected things. One spurious. The other more serious. Both point the same way to freedoms lost, never to be regained.
In 2006 I came up against a holiday deadline crunch, so I turned my column over to Turpy, the beloved eight-year-old Golden Retriever/Chow mix who had turned up at our doorstep as a puppy.
When Charles Darwin penned his final draft of On the Origin of Species in 1876 he gave the world a game-changing worldview. Up until that time it was generally held that the only explanation for the reality of things was the intentional activity of a higher power, usually understood as supernatural and divine. Darwin's theory of evolutionary natural selection offered a way out. He declared that he could explain the reality of our world, and everything in it, without God.
Politics is not for the faint-of-heart or easily discouraged. It's a long game with many moving parts and players. It has all the intrigue of a mystery, all the sport of any game, and strategy that would rival most military coups.
If you have children or grandchildren in school in Santa Clarita, I hope you will join me for the Literacy & Arts Festival on Saturday, Dec. 7.
So let's get some things straight right off the bat: Yes, Obamacare's rollout has been an unmitigated disaster. And yes, some people have lost their insurance plans despite President Obama's assurances that if they were happy with what they had they could keep it.
It is becoming more evident everyday. Our society is fracturing into little cliques of discontent. We are becoming a factious people. Cynicism might be nominated as our national hobby, and the criticism it breeds has turned us into a passionate yet mediocre debating society.
We turn up our collective noses at the brutality of Ancient Rome's gladiatorial combat games. These bloody, brutal and deadly contests were decadent displays of an indulgent, yet morally primitive culture, we tell ourselves. Athletes were slaughtered for the entertainment of the Roman citizens-sacrificed for their amusement. Every gasp in disgust at what the ancient Romans did in the Colosseum suggests that we somehow think we are better than that.
The Sochi Winter Olympic Games, commencing February 7, are but a few days away. In 1896 the First Modern Olympics resurrected the ancient Greek tradition of bringing together the most talented athletes. Since then the Modern Olympics have managed to survive world conflicts and have endured WWI, WWII, the Cold War, and hopefully the War on Terror.
Why do people like Rev. Jeremiah Wright travel across America to exhort audiences to denigrate tea party Americans as racist?
The First Amendment of our nation's Constitution establishes five rights that the founding fathers considered so important, they listed them first in the Bill of Rights.
While the proverbial advice to "take each day as it comes" has some validity, it also masks the dangerous assumption that the choices we make today won't have consequential carry-over tomorrow. In fact, while it is both harmful and a waste of time to worry about the unknowns of the future, it is always wise to consider what effect my decisions today will have on the options available to me later.
As a former parks commissioner for the city of Santa Clarita, I am deeply passionate about ensuring our residents enjoy quality recreation facilities, beautiful outdoor space and a healthy way of life.
Ask yourself the honest question: Did you truly believe The Patient Protection Affordable Care Act, or ACA, was going to work as promised? If the answer is "yes," then did you earnestly think through the practical workings of the program?
Energizer Bunnies keep going and going and going – and for a time, it looked like Buck McKeon would be equally perpetual in motion to those furry little drumbeaters. The man is after all, 75, and still beating war drums while running circles around most of us. Yet now it seems that both Buck the man, and his underlying message of perpetual militarism may be running down, with time well deserved for some R and R away from the military industrial complex.
It's a story about how freedom is all.
People waiting to get New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's last pound of flesh may have a long wait, and not for the obvious reason.
There was a lot to talk about when House Speaker John Boehner appeared before reporters recently for the first time since the holiday break. There are continuing fights over Obamacare. Immigration reform. Appropriations bills. The debt ceiling. The Democratic push for the president's "inequality agenda."
Hundreds of millions of people will be following the 2014 Winter Olympics, even though the underwhelming motto ("Hot. Cool. Yours.") sounds less like a paean to athletic excellence than the sort of progression that accompanies a court-ordered paternity suit.
It is rare when we think deeply anymore. In too many ways, and in too many instances, we are becoming a people who let others do our thinking for us.
Recently, the community of Santa Clarita has been buzzing over potential billboard removals and the possibility of sign ordinance changes. It began when the Metro Group, who owns the land on which the billboards in question reside, approached the city with a proposal to remove every billboard in the Metro (railroad) right-of-way, within the Soledad Canyon Road and Railroad Avenue corridors, in the center of the city. This amounts to the permanent removal of 118 billboards on 62 structures along the Metro right-of-way in exchange for a change to the current sign ordinance that would allow them to build three ...
The demand for public transportation continues to increase as Americans enjoy the freedoms provided by commuter buses and railways.
Fracking has captured the headlines recently, but another, less well-known technique for extracting oil trapped in rock cavities deep underground is increasingly being used in California and is an even bigger threat to health and the environment.