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  • L.A.'s grassy parkways should not be parking spaces

    L.A.'s grassy parkways should not be parking spaces

    Of course people shouldn’t park their cars on the city’s parkways, the often grassy strip of land between the sidewalk and the street curb. Planting cars on the parkways is ugly, destructive to public infrastructure and, because the cars drive over or block the sidewalks as well, dangerous for...

  • Campaign bluster won't work with North Korea. Can Trump learn in time to avert disaster?

    Campaign bluster won't work with North Korea. Can Trump learn in time to avert disaster?

    The world is on the brink of danger once again, with North Korea threatening further nuclear tests and new missile launches, and the United States drawing red lines and issuing warnings. In recent days, both Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have said that American...

  • A NAFTA World Cup? Just the thing to improve relations

    A NAFTA World Cup? Just the thing to improve relations

    Mexico and the United States enjoy one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world today, with profound implications for the prosperity, well-being and security of both nations. No country touches the daily lives of more Americans than Mexico, and no country touches the daily lives...

  • Trump's acting like a lame duck president

    Trump's acting like a lame duck president

    One of the (many) things that makes the Trump presidency so hard to read is that the chapters are all out of order. Traditionally, during the transition period, presidents-elect are out of the limelight. But while Barack Obama was still in the White House, Donald Trump announced “deals” and appointments...

  • Why tax day is a nightmare for freelancers

    Why tax day is a nightmare for freelancers

    For the 55 million Americans who make their living as freelance workers, tax day is more than just a headache. It’s an annual fleecing. Freelancers now constitute a third of the American workforce, and over the past decade, 94% of new jobs added to the U.S. economy were created in the so-called...

  • Enough excuses. Release your taxes, Mr. President

    Enough excuses. Release your taxes, Mr. President

    Tuesday is Tax Day, and millions of Americans are expected to file their 1040s as part of the complicated business of paying for government. Now is the time for President Trump to stop making excuses and release his own tax records to the public, as he should have done many months ago. His current...

  • Make California's presidential primary great again

    Make California's presidential primary great again

    Would Donald Trump be president today if California had moved its 2016 presidential primary earlier in the year? Probably, but who knows for sure? By the time the Golden State was casting votes on June 7, Trump had all but locked up the Republican Party nomination and Californians fell into line....

  • A book of poetry that's worth $100,000, and so much more

    A book of poetry that's worth $100,000, and so much more

    A few months ago, I was talking to a former student about how she teaches poetry to college undergraduates. “Oh, I just ask them what the point of the poem is,” she said, as if the answer would be the simplest, most obvious thing in the world, “and then I ask them how the poem makes that point.”...

  • The gender pronoun test: What the ratio of 'he' to 'she' says about our favorite novels

    The gender pronoun test: What the ratio of 'he' to 'she' says about our favorite novels

    Writers are told to “write what you know,” so perhaps it would follow that men write more books about men than about women, and women write more books about women than about men. To find out if that’s true, I scanned hundreds of novels and counted the appearances of two short words: “he” and “she.”...

  • Let Richard Branson kill United Airlines

    Let Richard Branson kill United Airlines

    Most semi-frequent travelers have their own private no-fly list—that one airline whose aggressive incompetence and casual cruelty leads them to say “never again.” Even before introducing the term “re-accommodate” into the National Registry of Corporate Euphemisms, United has been that no-go airline...

  • Restore the 4th amendment at the U.S. border

    Restore the 4th amendment at the U.S. border

    In a recent op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, naturalized U.S. citizen Lubana Adi detailed how Customs and Border Protection agents seized and searched her phone without a warrant when she returned from visiting family in Turkey. "Does the 4th Amendment apply to Muslim citizens at LAX?" she asked...

  • By the way, United has the worst U.S. record on pet deaths, too

    By the way, United has the worst U.S. record on pet deaths, too

    As if you needed another reason to think twice before booking a ticket on United Airlines, which breathtakingly dragged a passenger off a flight this week, here is one: United had the worst record of U.S. airlines on pet deaths on planes in 2016, according to a recent report from the Department...

  • The latest San Bernardino shooting brings back memories of my son, who was killed in Isla Vista

    The latest San Bernardino shooting brings back memories of my son, who was killed in Isla Vista

    News that a domestic abuser shot and killed his estranged wife and an 8-year-old boy at North Park Elementary School in San Bernardino on Monday brought back memories of my only child, Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, who was shot and killed in the May 2014 rampage in Isla Vista, near UC Santa...

  • Plastic waste has gotten out of hand. Ban plastic foam take-out boxes

    Plastic waste has gotten out of hand. Ban plastic foam take-out boxes

    Five years ago, a proposed law banning the use of polystyrene containers to serve burgers, salads and other prepared foods failed in the state Assembly after heavy opposition from the plastics industry and the Chamber of Commerce. The environmental hazards posed by this form of plastic foam haven’t...

  • If Trump wants to run the country like a business, he should expand the IRS

    If Trump wants to run the country like a business, he should expand the IRS

    If you’re still laboring over your tax forms to meet the April 18 filing deadline, here’s a comforting thought: Unless you made well over $1 million — and unless your financial life is as complicated as, say, Donald Trump’s — your chances of being audited are getting ever closer to zero. The Internal...

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