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  • Trump's jargon is infectious

    Trump's jargon is infectious

    Donald Trump’s triglycerides are 129. His fasting blood glucose is 89. His alanine transaminase is 27. He’s fine. He seems to be hewing to norms, for once. But to hear the presidential physician tell it, Trump is bionic. In a news conference, Rear Adm. Ronny Jackson hailed Trump’s health as “excellent”...

  • We know junk food makes us sick. Are 'junk values' making us depressed?

    We know junk food makes us sick. Are 'junk values' making us depressed?

    Junk food has taken over our diets, and it is making millions of people physically sick. A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that something similar is happening with our minds — that they have become dominated by junk values, and this is making us mentally sick, triggering soaring rates...

  • Can Steve Bannon claim executive privilege? Absolutely not

    Can Steve Bannon claim executive privilege? Absolutely not

    Steve Bannon appeared this week before the House Intelligence Committee but refused to answer numerous questions, claiming executive privilege. Can he do that? The lawyer’s answer is no. This administration will find no more refuge in claims of executive privilege than the Nixon administration...

  • We're underfunding research on vaccines that may be able to prevent another terrible flu season

    We're underfunding research on vaccines that may be able to prevent another terrible flu season

    Seasonal influenza — the flu — sickens and kills many Americans in a good year, and this is already a bad one. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since 2010, flu has annually caused “between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations...

  • If a defendant says he’s innocent, his lawyer can’t say he did it

    If a defendant says he’s innocent, his lawyer can’t say he did it

    The 6th Amendment says that a person accused of a crime has the right to the “assistance of counsel for his defense.” But what if that “assistance” takes the form of an admission by a defense lawyer that his client committed the crime — even though the client insists he is innocent? A lawyer for...

  • Prepping for what comes after the Kremlin's beta attack on our elections

    Prepping for what comes after the Kremlin's beta attack on our elections

    The revelations of Russian-backed efforts to influence the 2016 election should come as no surprise to people familiar with history. The term dezinformatsiya — disinformation — was coined by Joseph Stalin, after all. And the Kremlin’s digital media intervention was just a beta test. We’ve yet to...

  • More shelters for homeless are good but permanent housing is better

    More shelters for homeless are good but permanent housing is better

    In the city of Los Angeles, there are more than 34,000 homeless people and a shortage of overnight shelter beds. As a result, nearly three-quarters of those people are “unsheltered” — meaning that they are sleeping at night on a sidewalk, in a tent, in a makeshift shelter or in a vehicle rather...

  • Should we set up New Deal-style work camps for the needy?

    Should we set up New Deal-style work camps for the needy?

    “They are sending out emergency calls for shoes, underwear, sleeping garments, household equipment, mattresses, springs and bedding,” a Los Angeles Times story reported from Southern California. Do-gooders were doing what they could to help the destitute. “They have no sanitation,” a volunteer...

  • It's up to Congress to save the internet

    It's up to Congress to save the internet

    Congressional Republicans breathed new life last year into the all-but-ignored Congressional Review Act, using it to reverse a wide range of Obama administration regulations on the environment, consumer protection and workplace issues. Now Senate Democrats are trotting out the act to undo a Republican...

  • Half a billion plastic straws are used and discarded every day. What an unacceptable waste

    Half a billion plastic straws are used and discarded every day. What an unacceptable waste

    Every day Americans use — and almost immediately discard — up to half a billion plastic beverage straws. At least, that’s the figure widely used by environmental activists to explain why people should embrace going straw-less. It’s not clear where that number came from, but it seems credible considering...

  • 'Work requirements' for public benefits are really just time limits

    'Work requirements' for public benefits are really just time limits

    Once upon a time, everyone knew what a work requirement was. The agency administering a public benefit program would offer unpaid work to a recipient and reduce or terminate assistance if she or he refused to comply. Supporters extolled the requirements as character-building; critics worried about...

  • After San Francisco, I worried L.A. would seem complacent

    After San Francisco, I worried L.A. would seem complacent

    On my first day as director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, in 2011, I walked into my downtown office and was struck by the view: mountains. I had no idea there were mountains in Los Angeles. Having never lived in Southern California, I had a Brooklynite’s view of L.A.:...

  • A close reading of Glenn Simpson's Trump-Russia testimony

    A close reading of Glenn Simpson's Trump-Russia testimony

    Glenn Simpson’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, released this week, is a tale of two research projects. One is about the financier turned criminal-justice crusader William F. Browder. The other is about the American president, Donald J. Trump. Taken together, they shed light on...

  • California needs to ensure that money aimed at low-income students actually gets to them

    California needs to ensure that money aimed at low-income students actually gets to them

    In the budget he released this week, Gov. Jerry Brown called for fully funding the Local Control Funding Formula, his landmark 2013 overhaul of education financing that was designed to direct substantial amounts of extra money to schools with high numbers of low-income students. More money has...

  • Don't purge voters for not showing up

    Don't purge voters for not showing up

    Voting is a precious right, but it’s also one that a citizen should feel free not to exercise on election day if the choices on the ballot don’t inspire him. That was the decision a Kent, Ohio, software engineer named Larry Harmon made in 2010 and 2014 when he skipped those midterm elections. Yet...

  • Trump is inching closer to blowing up the Iran nuclear deal

    Trump is inching closer to blowing up the Iran nuclear deal

    As a candidate for president, Donald Trump denounced the international agreement that placed important limits on Iran’s nuclear program as “the worst deal ever negotiated.” Never mind that his opposition seemed based more on the fact that the agreement was one of the crowning achievements of the...

  • If L.A. supes can't bother to update their website, how can we trust them to keep the public informed?

    If L.A. supes can't bother to update their website, how can we trust them to keep the public informed?

    Elected officials are picked and paid by the public, so it’s fair to evaluate them not only on how well they do their substantive work, but on how well they communicate their progress to the public and hold themselves open to public critique. Keeping the public informed is not (or ought not be)...

  • What the baseball hall of fame can teach us about elections

    What the baseball hall of fame can teach us about elections

    Would ballot-box behavior change if people knew more precisely how their fellow citizens planned to vote? It’s a question that no doubt still haunts Democrats as they continue staring daggers at their friends who went third-party in November 2016. But it’s also an experiment being carried out in...

  • Salvadorans forced to return home will face one of the most dangerous places on the planet

    Salvadorans forced to return home will face one of the most dangerous places on the planet

    All migrants have two lives — the one they are living now, and the one from before. In El Salvador, Rosa Maria was a sociologist. After fleeing to Long Island, N.Y., in 2002, she found work cleaning Manhattan apartments by day and fast-food restaurants by night. Her children have embraced the American...

  • A way to break the terrifying pattern of fire and flood

    A way to break the terrifying pattern of fire and flood

    In Southern California, water and fire can be a lethal combination. Just ask anyone who fled before December’s Thomas inferno only to evacuate again when rains slammed down on the burn areas, triggering deadly mudslides. For those whose houses were incinerated or flooded out, the understandable...

  • Take it from a former Division I athlete: College sports are like Jim Crow

    Take it from a former Division I athlete: College sports are like Jim Crow

    Now that the bowl season and College Football Playoff have concluded, college sports fans are shifting their attention from football to basketball in anticipation of March Madness. Although I’m a huge sports fan and ran track at school, I won’t be watching any men’s college basketball this spring....

  • Forcing Salvadorans to return home after 20 years in the U.S. is both cruel and bad policy

    Forcing Salvadorans to return home after 20 years in the U.S. is both cruel and bad policy

    In a span of 30 days in 2001, El Salvador endured two devastating earthquakes, the first a magnitude 7.7 followed by a magnitude 6.6. Hillsides crumbled and swept away neighborhoods. Houses disintegrated. Roads buckled. In all, the two quakes killed 1,156 people and injured 8,122 more while destroying...

  • 'Dreamers' are people, not bargaining chips

    'Dreamers' are people, not bargaining chips

    There may have been a heartening glimmer out of the White House on Tuesday on a possible deal to protect the so-called Dreamers from deportation while moving Congress toward comprehensive immigration reform. But the glimmer could also have been a magician’s trick. The devil, as they say, will be...

  • Stoner and non-stoner Californians can unite in resisting Jeff Sessions

    Stoner and non-stoner Californians can unite in resisting Jeff Sessions

    Keyboard confessional: I’ve never smoked marijuana in my life. I don’t care for kush. I hate its smell. Edibles scare me. I can’t tell the difference between THC and TBS. The one time pals offered me a joint, I declined and drank Cactus Cooler instead. But I support the right for any adult to light...

  • What the Trump administration doesn't understand about ocean conservation

    What the Trump administration doesn't understand about ocean conservation

    The Trump administration announced last week that it would open 90% of our coastal waters to oil and gas drilling. It declared last month that it would shrink or eliminate several national monuments — both terrestrial and marine. Last year, it rolled back safety requirements that prevent spills...

  • One good thing about Beltway insiders: They actually know what's going on

    One good thing about Beltway insiders: They actually know what's going on

    “Fishermen, sharpen your hooks, bring out the cheese balls and grease your bicycles. Soon there's going to be trout fishing inside the Beltway.” That’s the first recorded use of the phrase “inside the Beltway,” meaning — in this instance — the physical realm within the I-495 ring road that surrounds...

  • Hallmark channels' competitive advantage? Red state appeal

    Hallmark channels' competitive advantage? Red state appeal

    The nation’s political divide expresses itself in many ways, including television preferences. A recent survey found that viewers in regions that backed Hillary Clinton prefer political satire and stories with darker themes, antiheroes and unconventional families, as reported by the Los Angeles...

  • Oprah for president? Have we learned nothing?

    Oprah for president? Have we learned nothing?

    We don’t know whether the idea of Oprah Winfrey for president, inspired by Winfrey’s eloquent speech Sunday at the Golden Globe Awards, will prove an ephemeral excitation or a movement with staying power. But we find it depressing. We mean no disrespect to Winfrey, who strikes us as much better...

  • Cut the red tape already and start building supportive housing for the homeless

    Cut the red tape already and start building supportive housing for the homeless

    Here is a smart way for the Los Angeles City Council to jump-start the building of housing for homeless people: Cut the red tape that delays the construction of supportive housing and the conversion of dilapidated motels into new apartments. The Planning Commission endorsed a pair of ordinances...

  • The war against Islamic State will be won — or lost — on the cyber battlefield

    The war against Islamic State will be won — or lost — on the cyber battlefield

    President Trump and Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis should be congratulated for contributing to the steady decline of Islamic State’s territorial claims. Several years ago, in October 2014, Islamic State controlled land from central Syria to the fringe of Baghdad — territory that included...

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