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  • In the overwhelmingly male world of American politics, Hillary Clinton's milestone matters

    In the overwhelmingly male world of American politics, Hillary Clinton's milestone matters

    It was no surprise that Hillary Clinton was nominated this week as the Democratic Party’s candidate for president of the United States. Nevertheless, when she takes the stage in Philadelphia Thursday night and becomes the first woman in American history to accept the top slot on the Democratic...

  • L.A. has a growing mansionization problem

    L.A. has a growing mansionization problem

    My neighborhood is called either Fairfax Village or Mid-City West or Melrose or maybe all three. It is just north of the Grove and Park LaBrea, just south of West Hollywood. Since I work from home I often take walks nearby to unwind, and they’re usually pleasant, though lately I’ve had to take...

  • Outrage over Hinckley’s acquittal changed American law for the worse

    Outrage over Hinckley’s acquittal changed American law for the worse

    Thirty-five years after shooting President Ronald Reagan, John W. Hinckley Jr. is a free man, having been released from a mental institution by a federal judge who concluded that Hinckley no longer suffers from the mental disorder that led him to attempt the assassination in 1981. In recent years...

  • Expanded program for Central American minors could help refugee crisis

    Expanded program for Central American minors could help refugee crisis

    Since the first surge, two years ago, of unaccompanied minors and mothers with children fleeing violence in Central America, the Obama administration has struggled to find ways to dissuade people from taking the dangerous overland journey through Mexico to cross the border illegally in Texas. It...

  • Let's name long TSA lines after the politicians who caused them

    Let's name long TSA lines after the politicians who caused them

    Naming anything after a living politician is usually a bad idea, but this summer, we can make an exception. Now that Americans will be spending much of their vacations waiting in security lines at airports, we should honor the public servants responsible. At the entrance to the checkpoint at LAX,...

  • And the bar drops even lower as Trump calls on Russian hackers to help his election prospects

    And the bar drops even lower as Trump calls on Russian hackers to help his election prospects

    You can’t make this stuff up: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump actually called on an unfriendly foreign government Wednesday to hack into his opponent’s files, saying he hoped Russia could find the emails that were deleted from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s private servers in...

  • Welcome to the Democratic Party, Bernie

    Welcome to the Democratic Party, Bernie

    After 44 years in politics, Bernie Sanders has finally taken the plunge. He’s a regular Democrat now. Of course, he doesn’t quite want to admit it. “I was elected as an independent, so I’ll stay [in the Senate] two more years as an independent,” he told reporters Tuesday. Indeed, he still wishes...

  • The media has cried wolf about GOP candidates for ages. Now no one will listen to warnings on Trump

    The media has cried wolf about GOP candidates for ages. Now no one will listen to warnings on Trump

    Dear Mainstream Media and Democrats: It’s your turn. Now that Donald Trump has been formally nominated, the formal responsibility to stop him passes from the right to the left, from Republicans to Democrats and the journalists that amplify their values. You’re going to find it a very tough slog....

  • Is homelessness a priority or not?

    Is homelessness a priority or not?

    Last year the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors did something smart, urgent and obvious, yet rather unexpected: It set forth its priorities for the coming year, publicly, so that anyone could see them and hold the supervisors accountable for accomplishing them. There were four: reforming...

  • Democrats see a silver lining in an email release

    Democrats see a silver lining in an email release

    The unauthorized release of 20,000 internal emails from the Democratic National Committee created a huge embarrassment for Hillary Clinton on the eve of the convention that will nominate her for president. Some of the emails confirmed the widespread view that party officials favored Clinton over...

  • Did Bernie Sanders help Hillary Clinton win over his voters?

    Did Bernie Sanders help Hillary Clinton win over his voters?

    Rarely has a vanquished opponent offered such full-throated support for a rival as Bernie Sanders did for Hillary Clinton on Monday night. At a convention whose first hours were marked by incipient rebellion among die-hard Sanders delegates, the democratic socialist from Vermont did far more than...

  • Bernie or bust? His supporters are shouting through the convention

    Bernie or bust? His supporters are shouting through the convention

    They booed for hours on the floor of the Democratic convention Monday night: Bernie Sanders supporters unreconciled to the fact that he lost the nomination, fair and square. They booed nearly every time Hillary Clinton’s name was mentioned – which, at a convention whose main purpose is Clinton’s...

  • Saudi ambassador: There is no smoking gun in the 28 pages, let's move on

    Saudi ambassador: There is no smoking gun in the 28 pages, let's move on

    For nearly 15 years, a cloud of suspicion has darkened the perception of Saudi Arabia in the eyes of the American people.  That cloud was lifted earlier this month with the release of a previously classified section of the joint congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attacks. Although President George...

  • Don't believe Wall Street's scare stories about a financial transactions tax

    Don't believe Wall Street's scare stories about a financial transactions tax

    Thanks in large part to Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Party recently added a financial transactions tax to its platform. In his run for the presidential nomination, Sanders had promoted the idea of an FTT — a small sales tax on the purchase of stocks, bonds or other financial assets — as...

  • How the Democratic platform betrays millions of the party faithful

    How the Democratic platform betrays millions of the party faithful

    The abortion plank in the 2016 Democratic platform effectively marginalizes the voices of 21 million pro-life Democrats. It means the party that is supposedly on the side of justice for the vulnerable no longer welcomes those of us who #ChooseBoth; that is, those of us who want the government to...

  • Congressional witch hunt for 'baby body part' sellers needs to end

    Congressional witch hunt for 'baby body part' sellers needs to end

    When a congressional panel investigating the procurement of fetal tissue from abortion clinics was formed last fall, its Republican leader and members made no secret of their mission to expose businesses that “sell baby body parts.” (They even said as much on their website.) Their inquiry was inspired...

  • Who's paying for the Democratic convention?

    Who's paying for the Democratic convention?

    Philadelphia is gearing up for the Democratic National Convention with its signature brand of bad taste. Everywhere I look, from the doorstep of the brownstone-and-brick Union League on Broad Street to the central courtyard of the ornate City Hall, I see fiberglass donkeys, the mascot of the Democratic...

  • Coups have consequences — including making more room for Islam

    Coups have consequences — including making more room for Islam

    On two recent trips to Turkey to study constitutional reform, I asked everyone I interviewed — politicians, scholars, activists —  if there was any risk of a coup in the country. They all said “Impossible.” Last Friday, as jets bombed the parliament in Ankara and tanks blocked the bridges of Istanbul,...

  • Hillary Clinton's 3 big convention challenges

    Hillary Clinton's 3 big convention challenges

    Donald Trump made one part of Hillary Clinton’s job easier last week — by making the braggadocious claim that he alone can cure the nation’s ills, a boast that sounded more like a promise of one-man rule. But Clinton faces three other big challenges at her convention in Philadelphia this week,...

  • The Democratic convention is Hillary Clinton's chance to get voters to trust her

    The Democratic convention is Hillary Clinton's chance to get voters to trust her

    Delegates gathering in Philadelphia on Monday for the Democratic National Convention have a lot to be thankful for. President Obama has seen a rise in his job approval ratings. That’s good news for Hillary Clinton, who served as his secretary of State and is promising in her campaign that she will build...

  • Coyote coexistence is a lifestyle California should export

    Coyote coexistence is a lifestyle California should export

    In late 2014, California became the first state to ban the most controversial form of rural entertainment since cockfighting: coyote-killing contests, wherein hunters won prizes or gambling pots based on the number of the wild predators they killed in a weekend. Some no doubt saw the move as coddling...

  • Can coyotes and humans get along?

    Can coyotes and humans get along?

    We civilized humans love to watch wild animals being wild. It’s why we go on safari and to the aquarium and hope the lions are active at the zoo. One of the best things about living in Los Angeles is we can be city dwellers and at the same time be surrounded by abundant fauna. I can scroll through...

  • With crucial election looming, voting rights are even more important

    With crucial election looming, voting rights are even more important

    It’s been nearly three years since the U.S. Supreme Court stuck its gavel in where it didn’t belong and gutted a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Predictably, states with histories of vote-suppression quickly adopted fresh laws that have made it harder for the poor and for minorities...

  • GOP's new tactic: pitting the LGBT community against Muslims

    GOP's new tactic: pitting the LGBT community against Muslims

    In 2002 the Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn carved a path for Donald Trump. Fortuyn demanded an end to Muslim immigration, claiming that Islamic culture endangered the Dutch tradition of respect for LGBT rights. I remember reading the headlines after Fortuyn’s party won local elections, wondering...

  • Remember the good old days when 'Trump for president' was a darkly ironic joke between friends?

    Remember the good old days when 'Trump for president' was a darkly ironic joke between friends?

    Donald Trump’s acceptance of the 2016 Republican presidential nomination last night still has much of the country wondering if we’re in a bad dream. But as long ago as 2011, a Los Angeles Times editorial writer was pondering the possibility of a Trump presidential bid. Dan Turner, who died in 2013,...

  • Tim Kaine for vice president, y’all? Snooze.

    Tim Kaine for vice president, y’all? Snooze.

    Watching Donald Trump speak last night I was struck by two thoughts. First: This is a totally hateful, deranged speech with no allegiance to facts and few executable policy prescriptions. Second: This man is going to win the election. Why? Because this contest has never been just about policy....

  • L.A. is A-OK with taxing illegal Airbnb rentals

    L.A. is A-OK with taxing illegal Airbnb rentals

    Earlier this year, the city of Los Angeles stopped letting illegal medical marijuana dispensaries sign up to pay businesses taxes because, well, they’re unlawful and, as City Councilwoman Nury Martinez explained, “We shouldn’t be making money off of illegal businesses.” This week, however, the...

  • Milo Yiannopoulos, Leslie Jones and the 'right' to speech on Twitter

    Milo Yiannopoulos, Leslie Jones and the 'right' to speech on Twitter

    Twitter recently suspended the account of Milo Yiannopoulos, a conservative media celebrity and Donald Trump mega-fan, over allegations that he had coordinated the sexist and racist harassment of “Ghostbusters” star Leslie Jones. Yiannopoulos has emerged as a leader of the “alt-right,” the social...

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