Advertisement
406 posts
  • Trump
  • Opinion
  • Climate Change
Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a United Nations Climate Change Conference in Germany in November..
Gov. Jerry Brown speaks at a United Nations Climate Change Conference in Germany in November.. (Getty Images)

If there was any doubt that California and the Trump administration are at war over environmental protection, Gov. Jerry Brown cleared it up Tuesday.

“We’re losing our battle on climate change,” Brown said during a news conference announcing the state’s 10th lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This one seeks to block the attempt by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt — dubbed “Outlaw Pruitt” by Brown — to roll back national standards to make passenger cars more fuel efficient and less polluting.

“If we follow the Pruitt Trump path, we follow our way off the cliff into disaster,” Brown said. “This is an existential threat to America, to California and the world.”

Advertisement
  • Politics
  • Opinion
Two more top aides have abandoned Environmental Protection Agency director Scott Pruitt.
Two more top aides have abandoned Environmental Protection Agency director Scott Pruitt. (Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

It’s twofer Tuesday for Scott Pruitt, the embattled director of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Resignations of two top aides were reported Tuesday morning. The first to go was Albert Kelly, a longtime personal friend of Pruitt and Oklahoma banker who had no background to do his job overseeing the Superfund program cleaning up toxic dump sites. Kelly, incidentally, also has been banned from the banking industry by regulators at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. over issues with the bank he formerly ran in Tulsa, Okla.

The Washington Post reported that Kelly resigned because he “was tired of coming under criticism for the FDIC ban and didn’t need the job.”

Advertisement
  • Trump
  • Politics
  • Opinion
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, left, reportedly has given President Trump's lawyers a list of questions he'd like to ask.
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, left, reportedly has given President Trump's lawyers a list of questions he'd like to ask. (AFP/Getty Images)

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference must be nearing its end. We’ve reached the leaking endgame.

Late Monday, the New York Times reported that it had obtained a list of nearly 50 questions that Mueller has submitted to President Trump’s lawyers. The questions explore what Trump knew and felt about several figures involved in his campaign who’ve been indicted or implicated in some way in Mueller’s probe.

Trump quickly tweeted that there were no questions about collusion with Russia on the list, and that’s patently false. There are several, including one that suggests new information about former campaign manager Paul Manafort: “What knowledge did you have of any outreach by your campaign, including by Paul Manafort, to Russia about potential assistance to the campaign?”

  • Politics
  • Opinion
Protesters parade at Los Angeles Hall of Records on behalf of 17 county employees fired because they wouldn't take a loyalty oath in 1948.
Protesters parade at Los Angeles Hall of Records on behalf of 17 county employees fired because they wouldn't take a loyalty oath in 1948. (Los Angeles Times Archive / UCLA)

President Trump skipped it last year, but on Monday he caught up with tradition and issued a proclamation recognizing May 1 as Loyalty Day — the same day much of the rest of the world celebrates as May Day. There’s a story behind that.

As The Times editorial board explained two years ago, Loyalty Day traces its roots to 1921 and Americanization Day, the response to Russia’s 1917 Bolshevik Revolution and growing radicalism among labor advocates, and as a nativist rebuff to a spike in immigration (sound familiar?). Fast-forward to the post-World War II Cold War and fears of communist spies and subversives. That led to President Truman’s insistence that federal employees sign loyalty oaths, a concept that spread to most levels of government. In fact, California still has one, though it’s watered down from the original version that made oath-takers attest that “I am not a member of the Communist Party.”

  • Opinion
  • Plastic Trash
Plastic trash overflows a trash can in London.
Plastic trash overflows a trash can in London. (Mike Kemp)

Los Angeles is the latest California city looking at passing a straws-on-request law. There’s a state law proposed too. What this means is restaurants and other food joints may hand over a plastic straw only to customers who ask for one.

Before you groan and say, “what a silly and meaningless law,” consider how often plastic straws have been foisted upon you just in the last week. Fast food places stick a straw in drinks as a matter of course. In recent years, even sit-down restaurants have taken to sticking a straw in water glasses before delivering them to customers. Happens to me all the time.

Having to ask for a straw puts the onus back on the customer, who may indeed need and want one. But it comes with a subtle but potent message about the environmental cost involved. (Just check out this distressing video of a plastic straw being extracted from the nose of a sea turtle for a clue.)

Advertisement
  • Trump
  • Politics
  • Opinion
Some observers are suggesting that President Trump, shown with national security advisor John Bolton, should receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Some observers are suggesting that President Trump, shown with national security advisor John Bolton, should receive the Nobel Peace Prize. (Ricky Carioti / Washington Post)

If the negotiations with North Korea actually denuclearize the Korean peninsula, it would be such an epic accomplishment that South Korean President Moon Jae-in believes President Trump would deserve the Nobel Peace Prize.

That’s what a spokesman for Moon told Reuters on Monday. And although Democrats probably wouldn’t go that far — I’m just guessing here — they have grudgingly given Trump credit for North Korea’s entry into talks.

Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank), who is, umm, not Trump’s biggest fan, had this to say Sunday on ABC’s “This Week”: 

  • Opinion
  • Tech
T-Mobile and Sprint storefronts in New York in April 2010
T-Mobile and Sprint storefronts in New York in April 2010 (Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)

The much-ballyhooed 5G wireless technology is so revolutionary, it could transform the U.S. mobile phone industry even before it arrives. But who needs it?

The next-generation tech appears to be one of the major rationales behind the proposed merger between T-Mobile and Sprint, the third- and fourth-most-popular mobile phone networks in the United States. Deploying 5G, which calls for a comparatively dense build-out of antennas in urban areas, will be costly and time-consuming, and it’s not entirely clear why the United States needs four copies of this infrastructure.

But telecom analyst Dave Burstein has raised a bigger question: What if 5G isn’t such a big leap after all? With equipment vendors pushing the capabilities of the current technology (known as 4G LTE) above 1 gigabit per second in peak speeds, 5G can seem more evolutionary than revolutionary.