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  • If the city wants the faith community to help the homeless, it should make sure it's not standing in the way

    If the city wants the faith community to help the homeless, it should make sure it's not standing in the way

    It makes sense that L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti would enlist religious leaders in a citywide effort to fight homelessness. At a time when officials are gearing up to build thousands of units of housing for homeless people, the city could use the moral suasion of pastors, rabbis, imams and other faith...

  • It's time for farmers markets to declare plastic bags out of season

    It's time for farmers markets to declare plastic bags out of season

    Among the blazing orange carrots, ripe red strawberries and deep green kale leaves that line the farmers market stalls is one incongruous product that never goes out of season: disposable white plastic bags. I am an avid farmers-market shopper, which means more than half of my food comes from the...

  • Lessons from the GOP's mostly dead healthcare plan

    Lessons from the GOP's mostly dead healthcare plan

    The GOP healthcare plan is not dead. It is, in the words of Miracle Max from “Princess Bride,” “only mostly dead.” Hill-watchers say the Republicans so badly need to pass something that they might just surprise everyone and pass … something today. Maybe. But whatever the Senate passes will not...

  • Keep political campaigns out of the churches

    Keep political campaigns out of the churches

    As part of his all-too-successful courtship of religious conservatives, Donald Trump promised during his presidential campaign to “get rid of” the Johnson Amendment, a 1954 law that prohibits churches and other tax-exempt nonprofit organizations from endorsing candidates for public office. In May,...

  • Republicans don't trust higher ed. That's a problem for liberal academics

    Republicans don't trust higher ed. That's a problem for liberal academics

    Only 36% of Republicans, according to the Pew Research Center, believe colleges and universities have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country, versus 58% who say they have a negative effect. Among Democrats, those figures are 72% and 19%, respectively. That finding represents...

  • Shining a light on prescription drug pricing

    Shining a light on prescription drug pricing

    After years of failed efforts, the California Legislature may finally pass a bill that responds to the problem of rising prescription drug costs. But temper your enthusiasm: Though this measure (SB 17) has been fiercely resisted by the pharmaceutical industry, it wouldn’t actually stop manufacturers...

  • Were the raw materials in your iPhone mined by children in inhumane conditions?

    Were the raw materials in your iPhone mined by children in inhumane conditions?

    Last year, I visited the sprawling mines of Cerro Rico, the “rich hill” that looms over Potosi, Bolivia. Four centuries ago, it supplied the silver that bankrolled the Spanish empire. Today, miners who work in the same tunnels as 16th century conscripted Incan laborers are providing tin for Apple...

  • Jeff Sessions' asset forfeiture plan is a return to the storm-trooper days of anti-drug frenzy

    Jeff Sessions' asset forfeiture plan is a return to the storm-trooper days of anti-drug frenzy

    Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions recently took a giant step backward in history and in basic principles of justice, and now he wants to drag the rest of the nation with him. The object of his strange nostalgia is the practice known as civil asset forfeiture, under which police confiscate private property...

  • Math is not the friend of the Republican Party

    Math is not the friend of the Republican Party

    Math is not the friend of the Republican Party. As the GOP leadership fights to find the votes from Trumpcare, the bill that just won’t die, the Congressional Budget Office issued two new scores for how Republican proposals would affect the health insurance system. First, the government office ...

  • California is handling climate change all wrong

    California is handling climate change all wrong

    Gov. Jerry Brown has won praise for promising that California will live up to the Paris accord despite President Trump’s withdrawal from the treaty. He also signed a climate deal with China last month, and has unveiled plans for a global climate summit in San Francisco next year. Earlier this week,...

  • Trump's biggest success: Proving the inadequacy of federal ethics laws

    Trump's biggest success: Proving the inadequacy of federal ethics laws

    President Trump is a walking — well, golf cart-riding — conflict of interests. Even though he has given up active control of the billion-dollar Trump Organization, he still enjoys its enormous financial benefits, which has made the intersection between personal gain and public policy extraordinarily...

  • I've chronicled 23 years of unrelenting change in The Times. This is my last weekly column

    I've chronicled 23 years of unrelenting change in The Times. This is my last weekly column

    The first time I saw Los Angeles was late on a Saturday many years ago. I was flying here as a young reporter from Washington D.C. As the plane descended, the carpet of lights that is Los Angeles at night rolled out below me. Eventually, in the distance, I could see a dark ribbon of ocean. After...

  • How George Romero Americanized the zombie

    How George Romero Americanized the zombie

    When George Romero died Sunday, he was almost universally hailed as the father of the zombie movie. The title was both too much and not enough. Romero’s “The Night of the Living Dead” didn’t invent the zombie movie; that credit goes to “White Zombie” from 1932. But in his great trilogy — “Night...

  • California needs to keep its ballots spin-free

    California needs to keep its ballots spin-free

    Words matter. And when those words appear on the ballot, where space is limited and the competition for voter attention is high, they matter a lot. This has become an issue for a group of Republicans who have proposed a ballot initiative to repeal a recently passed package of gas taxes and vehicle...

  • Why the Supreme Court needs 18-year term limits

    Why the Supreme Court needs 18-year term limits

    Rumors are swirling that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Republican-appointed judge whose swing vote has preserved détente between the court’s left and right for nearly a generation, may announce his retirement in the next year. The mere idea that Kennedy’s seat could get filled...

  • Domestic violence victims shouldn't have to choose between deportation and medical care

    Domestic violence victims shouldn't have to choose between deportation and medical care

    When Elena attempted to break up with her abusive boyfriend, he beat her horribly, saying he would leave her with scars by which to remember him. Although badly injured, she did not contact the police to report the domestic violence. Nor did she seek medical care for her open wounds or the ringing...

  • California would be the primary victim in a GOP war on the census

    California would be the primary victim in a GOP war on the census

    The 2020 census is headed for a debacle, and California is among the states most likely to be victimized by it. Every 10 years, the Constitution requires the federal government to “enumerate” the nation’s residents. The count — traditionally accomplished by mailed questionnaires and house visits...

  • Don't believe the dangerous myths of 'Drone Warrior'

    Don't believe the dangerous myths of 'Drone Warrior'

    Drone pilots have been quitting the U.S. Air Force in record numbers in recent years — faster than new recruits can be selected and trained. They cite a combination of low-class status in the military, overwork and psychological trauma. But a widely publicized new memoir about America’s covert...

  • Trump blocking people on Twitter is childish, but it's hardly a 1st Amendment violation

    Trump blocking people on Twitter is childish, but it's hardly a 1st Amendment violation

    Despite pleas from across the political spectrum that he stop his 140-character outbursts, President Trump can’t stop tweeting. Indeed, he has defended his incessant online exclamations as essential to the conduct of his office. “My use of social media is not Presidential,” he tweeted earlier this...

  • Yemen is on the brink of collapse and our allies the Saudis are to blame

    Yemen is on the brink of collapse and our allies the Saudis are to blame

    Saudi Arabia has been fighting a long and brutal war in Yemen against Houthi rebels, who ousted the Saudi-backed central government in 2014. More than 10,000 civilians have died in the conflict, and over 3 million have been displaced. Millions face starvation. The Saudis have been accused of violating...

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