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  • Alabama judges shouldn't be able to override juries and issue death sentences

    Alabama judges shouldn't be able to override juries and issue death sentences

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in January that only a jury has the constitutional authority to find a murder so heinous that its perpetrator deserves to be executed. But Alabama continues to use a system in which trial judges can override a jury’s recommended sentence of life in prison without parole...

  • Did the media help Trump win? Look at the numbers

    Did the media help Trump win? Look at the numbers

    As the 2016 presidential campaign careened toward the November balloting, Donald Trump, who was down in the polls, tweeted that the “election is being rigged by the media, in a coordinated effort with the Clinton campaign.” If that’s true, journalists had a peculiar way of showing it. On topics...

  • Trump’s stumbling first steps on the world stage

    Trump’s stumbling first steps on the world stage

    During the presidential campaign, it became clear that Donald Trump was ignorant about international affairs yet disinclined to close the gaps in his knowledge. He liked to assert that “I know more about ISIS than the generals do,” and he seemed to think that he knew more about diplomacy than the...

  • Trump will have wider spying powers than anything J. Edgar Hoover ever imagined

    Trump will have wider spying powers than anything J. Edgar Hoover ever imagined

    President-elect Donald Trump is about to inherit the most powerful surveillance apparatus in history. Combining unprecedented technological capabilities with a lax legal regime, his spying powers dwarf anything the notorious FBI director J. Edgar Hoover could have fathomed. Many privacy and civil...

  • The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act would damage free speech rights on campus

    The Anti-Semitism Awareness Act would damage free speech rights on campus

    Since Donald Trump’s election, a wave of hate attacks have targeted Jews, Muslims and other vulnerable groups. What’s the government doing about it? Nothing. But the U.S. Senate did pass a bill last week called the Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, which cracks down on the constitutional rights of college...

  • P-45 doesn't deserve to die, and neither did the 10 alpacas he killed

    P-45 doesn't deserve to die, and neither did the 10 alpacas he killed

    P-45, the Malibu mountain lion who spent last week on death row, has received at least a temporary reprieve. After he killed 10 alpacas in one night, having already killed around 60 domestic animals in the last two years, a Malibu resident acquired a permit to shoot him. But public outcry, including...

  • California's legislature should use its supermajority power judiciously

    California's legislature should use its supermajority power judiciously

    When Democratic state legislators return to Sacramento on Monday for the first day of the new two-year session, it will be in greater numbers than the previous session. Significantly greater. With 55 members in the Assembly and 27 in the Senate, Democrats have reached the rare and almost-magical...

  • It’s OK to talk to yourself

    It’s OK to talk to yourself

    Talking to yourself may seem a little shameful. If you’ve ever been overheard berating yourself for a foolish mistake or practicing a tricky speech ahead of time you’ll have felt the social injunction against communing with yourself in words. In the well-known saying, talking to yourself is the...

  • Who’s to blame for fake news?

    Who’s to blame for fake news?

    When the problem of fake news first started making headlines, I was traveling across Southeast Asia and the Middle East. That vantage point provided a striking contrast: While we in America waste the right to a free press, half a world away, the right is so precious that people routinely risk their...

  • This painting was looted by the Nazis, then seized from my living room

    This painting was looted by the Nazis, then seized from my living room

    Two agents from U.S. Homeland Security’s ICE unit arrived at my door in September looking for a Polish lady — not a person, but a painting: Melchior Geldorp’s “Portrait of a Lady.” She had, they informed me, been looted by the Nazis from the National Museum in Warsaw. Unsure if these gentlemen...

  • Through climate change denial, we're ceding global leadership to China

    Through climate change denial, we're ceding global leadership to China

    Remember when China was the climate-action outcast, the obstacle standing in the way of progress in the global fight against a warming planet? What a difference a few years — and an election — can make. Over the past few weeks, world leaders, delegates to the climate change conference in Marrakech and...

  • Supervisors try a new twist on a perpetual problem

    Supervisors try a new twist on a perpetual problem

    The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has tried many ways to govern, having at times a weak chief administrator, a strong one, direct board control over all 30-plus departments, or indirect control for some and direct for others. On Tuesday, the supervisors are expected to adopt a new plan...

  • Earthquakes are equal-opportunity destroyers

    Earthquakes are equal-opportunity destroyers

    The 7.8 magnitude earthquake that shook San Francisco in 1906 killed an estimated 3,000 people, destroyed 80% of the city and turned the West Coast’s largest and most sophisticated community into a virtual shanty town of tents and camps for the 225,000 left homeless. The city was rebuilt, but people...

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