The federal bench, more and more, determines the policy of federal and state government. So it is an indication of conflict over the direction of our nation that President Obama appointed Caitlin Halligan, who is General Council of the District Attorney’s Office in the City of New York, to the post of judge on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Republicans in the Senate, however, blocked that appointed by preventing cloture.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney declined Donald Trump’s invitation to participate in his December 27 debate, sponsored by Newsmax Media and ION TV in Des Moines, Iowa, saying “We [already] have two debates in December that I’ve agreed to participate in. The rest of the month will be spent campaigning.”

Tea Party favorite Rand Paul, Kentucky Senator and son of GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul, single-handedly thwarted an amendment proposed by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) drafted to advance Georgia’s application for NATO membership.

Hillary ClintonAs the White House released a memorandum outlining President Obama’s strategy for promoting homosexuality globally, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was busy hectoring the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva with the same discordant anthem. Speaking on behalf of the President, Clinton exhorted the UN body concerning the evils of “gay and lesbian discrimination,” reported the Associated Press, “declaring the U.S. will use foreign assistance as well as diplomacy to back its insistence that gay rights are fully equal to other basic human rights.”

Christmas time approaches, the season for giving, the season when people’s inclination toward charitable acts and other good works reaches its apogee. Preparations for the holiday are well under way, and at shopping centers and street corners everywhere, one sees those red kettles, a veritable symbol of the season, almost as ubiquitous as Christmas trees, holly, and colored lights. Christmas engenders a unique spirit in our hearts. As the great American author and essayist Washington Irving said, “Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.”