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  • Along with voting rights, restore jury duty to ex-inmates

    Along with voting rights, restore jury duty to ex-inmates

    One of the broken promises of the criminal justice system is that a person who completes felony time in prison or jail will leave with a clean slate and a chance to start over. It doesn’t work that way. Liberty once lost is rarely fully restored. At criminal justice reform rallies, advocates have...

  • Want L.A's hepatitis A crisis to get even worse? Follow Venice Beach's lead

    Want L.A's hepatitis A crisis to get even worse? Follow Venice Beach's lead

    With Southern California confronting a deadly epidemic of hepatitis A, a highly contagious ailment that spreads through contact with the feces of an infected person, urban centers ought to be doing everything possible to improve sanitation. That’s especially true in enclaves frequented by the homeless....

  • The family farm is in Illinois, but the family is in Alabama

    The family farm is in Illinois, but the family is in Alabama

    Across America, farm families — including mine — are grappling with big changes. In April, my 81-year-old father was diagnosed with advanced congestive heart failure on the same day Mom was transferred to a nursing home. I dropped off my youngest daughter at school and began the familiar trek from...

  • A middle-class tax cut? Hardly.

    A middle-class tax cut? Hardly.

    President Trump and his Republicans are still trying to sell their tax bill as a “middle class tax cut.” The middle class isn’t buying it—but that won’t stop Congress from passing some version of their plan. The GOP’s tax proposal was always going to be a hard sell. Its centerpiece is a deep reduction...

  • My life without a smartphone

    My life without a smartphone

    Just over a year ago, my pocket was picked while I was walking down a crowded sidewalk. Although the thieves didn’t manage to snatch my wallet, they did take my iPhone. My first thought was to replace it right away. But I stopped myself and asked a simple question: Does owning a smartphone make...

  • The Russia probe has entered Phase 2

    The Russia probe has entered Phase 2

    We have now entered the second phase of the Russia probe. In the first, special counsel Robert Mueller and his team, starting from scratch, gathered sufficient evidence to file felony charges against Paul Manafort, Rick Gates and George Papadopoulos. Phase 1 has given Mueller leverage against higher-level...

  • A moment of reckoning for Al Franken — and everyone else who contributes to the culture of harassment

    A moment of reckoning for Al Franken — and everyone else who contributes to the culture of harassment

    Stories about powerful men engaging in sexual misconduct are becoming so common that, as with mass shootings, the country is in danger of growing inured to them. But unlike the tragic news about that latest deranged, murderous gunman, the massive outpouring of previously repressed tales of sexual...

  • To end sexual harassment on the job, end workplace bullying

    To end sexual harassment on the job, end workplace bullying

    Policymakers have enjoyed a free pass in discussions over what to do in response to the sexual harassment allegations taking down Hollywood producers, news media titans and actors. Because the worst of the transgressions already are illegal, lawmakers seem satisfied to call for culprits to be fired...

  • A tax bill no responsible California lawmaker should support

    A tax bill no responsible California lawmaker should support

    Any tax reform bill will have winners and losers. What’s maddening about the one the House is expected to vote on Thursday, though, is that so many of the losers are concentrated in California. Golden State lawmakers from both parties ought to fight that kind of tilted tax policy. The GOP authors...

  • In the world of religious tax exemptions, does Scientology measure up?

    In the world of religious tax exemptions, does Scientology measure up?

    In addition to being megalomaniac leaders of cult-like movements, the late L. Ron Hubbard and Donald Trump have shared an aversion to paying taxes. The founder of Scientology waged a ruthless battle to win a religious tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service, while the president has boasted...

  • Dalai Lama: We need an education of the heart

    Dalai Lama: We need an education of the heart

    When the president of the United States says “America first,” he is making his voters happy. I can understand that. But from a global perspective, this statement isn’t relevant. Everything is interconnected today. The new reality is that everyone is interdependent with everyone else. The United...

  • Tom Steyer's impeachment petition will only make it harder to get rid of Trump

    Tom Steyer's impeachment petition will only make it harder to get rid of Trump

    There are two ways to impeach a president and remove him from office. Only one of them has ever worked. The first way is to let evidence from investigations slowly build a bipartisan consensus for impeachment. That’s how Richard Nixon was pushed out of office in 1974. (Nixon resigned before he...

  • A hundred years ago, one Hollywood studio was a great, safe place for a woman to work

    A hundred years ago, one Hollywood studio was a great, safe place for a woman to work

    Imagine a movie industry where women write half the films, where renowned female directors are the rule and where casting couches aren’t a fixture in the boss’ office. It’s not a futuristic fantasy but a world that existed 100 years ago, when Carl Laemmle’s Universal Studios made feminist history....

  • Trump tones down his language against North Korea but delivers a muddled message

    Trump tones down his language against North Korea but delivers a muddled message

    As he nears the end of a grueling tour of Asia, President Trump is receiving praise for avoiding the sort of insulting and confrontational language that so often has exasperated his foreign-policy advisors and alarmed U.S. allies. That is admittedly setting a low bar for diplomatic success, but...

  • Has Trump's petty war with CNN spilled over to the Justice Department?

    Has Trump's petty war with CNN spilled over to the Justice Department?

    In a surprising twist, the regulation-loathing, business-boosting Trump administration is threatening to block AT&T’s proposed $85-billion buyout of Time Warner on antitrust grounds, potentially derailing the creation of yet another media behemoth. Specifically, the Justice Department is reportedly...

  • Whatever happened to the party of fiscal responsibility?

    Whatever happened to the party of fiscal responsibility?

    Not that long ago, Rep. Paul Ryan was freaked out about the national debt. The “red tidal wave of debt,” he told Sean Hannity back in 2012, would trigger what he called the “most predictable economic crisis we have ever had in this country.” Debt would mean nothing less than the “end of the American...

  • Would strict enforcement of existing gun laws have stopped the Texas church massacre? Probably not

    Would strict enforcement of existing gun laws have stopped the Texas church massacre? Probably not

    The massacre of 26 churchgoers Sunday in Sutherland Springs, Texas, prompted the predictable question of how the killer, a former Air Force serviceman court-martialed for domestic violence, was able to obtain the military-style rifle he used with such cold efficiency? It turns out that the federal...

  • What Virginia tells us, and doesn’t tell us, about gerrymandering

    What Virginia tells us, and doesn’t tell us, about gerrymandering

    Although the Virginia governorship was Tuesday’s marquee race, the Virginia House of Delegates produced the day’s most surprising result. Democrats picked up at least 15 seats and reduced a 66 to 34 Republican advantage to, at most, 51 to 49. A gerrymandered chamber thought to be safely Republican...

  • L.A. obviously needs dense housing along the Expo Line. Why isn't the city planning for it?

    L.A. obviously needs dense housing along the Expo Line. Why isn't the city planning for it?

    For the last several years, Los Angeles’ game plan for alleviating the housing crisis has been to encourage housing construction — lots of it — near transit stops. L.A., like many cities in California, hasn’t built enough homes to keep up with population growth. The result is a housing shortage...

  • Pebble Mine is a poison pill for Alaska's wild salmon

    Pebble Mine is a poison pill for Alaska's wild salmon

    The Bristol Bay watershed, in southwest Alaska, comprises 40,000 square miles of bogs and evergreen forests, rimmed by distant mountains and shimmering with rivers and feeder streams. In these waterways, miracles happen. Together they sustain the largest remaining salmon fishery on Earth. For more...

  • The GOP tax plan could be the death of Prop. 13

    The GOP tax plan could be the death of Prop. 13

    After a shellacking at the polls on Tuesday, Republicans might not need any new reasons to abandon their unpopular tax overhaul. But here’s one more: It could lead California to finally dismantle Proposition 13, one of the state’s last remaining GOP accomplishments. The federal tax plan, introduced...

  • Anti-vaxxers have found a way around California's strict new immunization law. They need to be stopped

    Anti-vaxxers have found a way around California's strict new immunization law. They need to be stopped

    Two years ago the state Legislature passed a law banning so-called personal belief exemptions that many parents were using to keep their children from being vaccinated because they believed — wrongly — that vaccines were linked to autism and other serious health problems. But even as the number...

  • Mass shootings, irrationality, and why you shouldn't bring a gun to church

    Mass shootings, irrationality, and why you shouldn't bring a gun to church

    Every disaster brings out human irrationality. When there’s a plane crash, we fear flying; when a rare disease emerges, we fear we will be infected. And when there’s a mass shooting in a church, we think we should bring more guns into churches. Or at least some people think so. This is a completely...

  • The T-word: When is an attack terrorism?

    The T-word: When is an attack terrorism?

    When a gunman opened fire at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, on Sunday, the atrocity called to mind the 2015 shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. Despite apparent similarities, these violent incidents were described quite differently....

  • Ten days that shook a century: How the Russian Revolution still echoes

    Ten days that shook a century: How the Russian Revolution still echoes

    A band of political radicals seized the reins of power in post-tsarist Russia a century ago today, installing Vladimir Lenin as their first leader and setting in play some of the forces that made the 20th century the bloodiest in human history. It’s hard, in fact, to imagine how different today’s...

  • California Republicans have to choose between their philosophy and their constituents

    California Republicans have to choose between their philosophy and their constituents

    There are fewer Republicans in the California congressional delegation than there are players on the roster of the Los Angeles Lakers. One half of the state’s 14 GOP House members represent districts that were carried by Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential campaign, which has Democrats...

  • What’s life like for thousands of incarcerated women? Imagine if Hollywood's worst predators had a key to your home

    What’s life like for thousands of incarcerated women? Imagine if Hollywood's worst predators had a key to your home

    It didn’t start as rape. Just weeks after arriving at a Kentucky jail, Rosa (not her real name, to protect her safety) was already a target. One of her guards, a captain, entered her cell and demanded that she undress for him. Refusing was not an option, so Rosa complied. Of course he returned....

  • Will Congress take away your cookies?

    Will Congress take away your cookies?

    To pass what President Trump presciently referred to as the “Cut Cut Cut Act,” and notch even one significant legislative win under unified government, the Republican Party has to overcome four seemingly insurmountable math problems. Fortunately for the GOP, legislators already solved one of them...

  • Goodbye science, hello industry

    Goodbye science, hello industry

    Rigorous, independent research and analysis should undergird everything the government does. Nowhere is that more true than at the Environmental Protection Agency, which crafts and enforces a wide range of regulations aimed at limiting damage to the environment — and to people — from pollutants....

  • If you're spending $100,000 on a handbag, you better be someone's fairy godmother

    If you're spending $100,000 on a handbag, you better be someone's fairy godmother

    It was more than 100 degrees. I didn’t eat breakfast, slept poorly the night before, and nearly passed out at the Brewery Art Walk. A stranger came to my aid. She brought me water and held ice to the back of my neck. She murmured encouraging words and stayed at my side until my husband arrived....

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