After all the shopping and preparation for celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, I hope we will stop and sit and think more deeply about their meaning in our over commercialized, trivialized, mass selling mania for and to children and deeply stressful time for so many. Who are we and who do we want to be as Americans? What do we value? What values do we want to stand for and transmit to our children in our warring polarized world where the violence of poverty and guns snuff out the lives and dim the eyes and spirits of children and adults?
Some believe the central political issue of our era is the size of the government. They're wrong. The central issue is whom the government is for.
Education is the most powerful weapon to fight extremism and terrorism. The forces attacking schools and killing our children are clearly feeling threatened and cornered. They are trying to demolish humanity at an insane and inhuman low, but the power of innocence, knowledge and compassion can never be undermined.
Hope is something you decide and not something you feel. And that decision to hope is what always has changed the world.
Let's face it, turning this kind of microscope on our own actions brings with it a lot of controversy, calls that we are endangering or damaging the CIA, or opening a can of worms that is best left closed. The dilemmas of a free society are many, and this is one of them. And the dilemmas of a free society are messy. But we should never walk away from them because of that.
I don't like -- don't approve, refuse to throw myself into -- the spirit of obligatory gift-giving. In my lifetime, this has become existentially linked to a commercial orgy that has now even co-opted the ritual angle
Americans are skilled at that combination of complacency and despair that assumes things cannot change and that we, the people, do not have the power to change them. Yet you have to be abysmally ignorant of history, as well as of current events, not to see that our country and our world have always been changing, are in the midst of great and terrible changes, and are occasionally changed through the power of the popular will and idealistic movements.
Here in their refugee camp, the Christians with no Christmas like us in the West have placed a refugee tent for Jesus, and there in the camp is a tent for another person who was also a poor refugee who had nothing.
I pray for unity in the city, as pain runs deep in many communities. But, we will no longer tolerate those, like Pat Lynch, who want to create more pain by attempting to divide the people and those who have taken an oath to protect and serve them.
Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers suggests the key to success in any field is practicing a specific task for ten thousand hours. For the past 17 years, my practicing and learning about Lou Zamperini is close to that targeted time frame.
Travel is meant to immerse you in the world, but in reality it is only from the perspective of an outsider. Hemingway never truly knew what it was like to be Cuban. I slept next door to his apartment in Havana--the big pink building is a residence that most Cubans could only dream of.
I held her in my arms the day she was born, and I will hold her forever. That is my final wish, and promise, for my remarkable little sister.
Know where to go in a pinch and spare yourself a disappointing drive to a retailer or grocer that might be closed as last-minute shopping and meal preparations are taking place.
"Do you have a Chanukah Bush?" No. I only know a few Bush's -- two were presidents and one burned next to Moses.
If all the holiday displays of red and green have left you feeling bluer than blue, take heart because you are not alone. While no formal studies have been conducted on the incidence of the "holiday blues," a mental health expert I recently talked to was quick to say it is not an unusual occurrence.
I found myself driving by his condo one evening in early December. Through the long rectangular windows, I saw the white lights of a Christmas tree sparkling against the glass. And I knew, in my heart, he had found someone else.
For me, Christmas is a reading, restful time and I like particularly to read a book that sweeps me into a complete world, somewhere else. It may be a true somewhere else, but it should be far from our own every day. That is precisely what The Queen of Four Kingdoms will do.
The good news is that the holiday season doesn't have to be so stressful and draining. With a few little changes, it is possible to turn your exhausting holiday experience into one filled with joy and cheer -- it just all boils down to how you take care of you. Here are five ways to do that...
We talk about Santa, we read books about Santa, we watch movies about Santa. But Matteo (who is 4 this year) has always helped buy gifts for others, never received a present "From Santa" and has always been very appreciative of the people who actually gave him gifts.
We stand on the brink of the holiday season, a time when we generally eat, drink, and spend to excess. By New Year's Day we are so fed up (literally!) that we fervently resolve to change our ways. Why wait for the new year?
I know you'll smile and nod politely when you open that new snowboard, remote control car, or electronic device. I'm grateful you'll be magnanimous. Magnanimous means -- oh forget it, I know you're barely listening at this point. But in all seriousness, if I could, these are the things I'd give you this Christmas.
Now that I'm a dad, nobody ever asks me what I want. But if they did? I'd reply exactly the same way as my mom and dad. Because I was wrong; they weren't joking. The intangible, imaginary stuff really is what parents want for Christmas.
More cuts are in our future unless the American people and Congress focus on the path we are on. Next year may mark the point of no return on this postal assault, making the mad rush too many of us are part of this year pointless next year. Service could be so bad the reliability we count on and expect, even while we joke about it, becomes a memory of a bygone era.
The Heathrow plot is among the clearest. Heathrow is certainly a prestigious target -- the IRA fired mortars onto runways during a series of attacks in 1994 -- but the CIA didn't prevent an attack on the airport by torturing information out of prisoners.
We won't be able to stop disasters from happening. On the contrary, climate change may increase the frequency and severity of floods, droughts and storms. But we are better equipped today to prepare for them and reduce their impact.
We live in a cash-driven political age. We won't get the reform we need if we rely on elected officials to enact it for us. That will take an independent movement which isn't beholden to any party or special interest. Building titwill be a major challenge, and nobody else will do it for us.
The fact is that few of us know much about the Internet of Things, but that doesn't stop us from wanting it in our homes and on our bodies. But as we snatch up connectable products this Christmas season, the number one issue we face is the protection of our privacy.
In the morning, every morning, when my husband Michael first awakes, he rolls over and drapes his long, lean arm across my body. "You are the prettiest wife in the world," he sings, and the hairs along my neck and in my cochlea are all tall and listening.
As we steel ourselves to keep combatting this crisis, it's important to highlight the public health lessons learned over 2014. Such crucial lessons will be critical for nations, health systems, and donors to embrace as Ebola evolves and other challenges emerge in 2015.
I stand on both sides of the so-called "blue line," placing one foot in the world of the NYPD furious over the murder of two of our own and another foot in with the black and brown people of this city angry with the senseless deaths of young people at the hands of the police.
"All men are created equal, endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights..." We may not live this creed every day; surely we have fallen short. But to deliberately betray it, especially for gains which are "unknowable," is a betrayal of our very identity as a nation.