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  • From wise and thoughtful Obama to thin-skinned and mean-spirited Trump

    From wise and thoughtful Obama to thin-skinned and mean-spirited Trump

    After eight years of “No Drama Obama,’’ the spectacle of Donald Trump continues to be quite a bit to absorb. As the shock of November’s election has faded, we’ve been forced to consider the brass tacks of Trump’s plan to remake this country. For many of us, the scenario still seems surreal.  Obama’s...

  • Is L.A. on North Korea’s target list?

    Is L.A. on North Korea’s target list?

    Donald Trump is commander of the American nuclear arsenal, and Kim Jong Un has announced that North Korea is in the “final stage” of perfecting an intercontinental ballistic missile that could travel 5,900 miles, reaching the U.S. West Coast. Is Los Angeles on the target list? The best fragmentary...

  • When to make a federal case out of the police

    When to make a federal case out of the police

    The U.S. Department of Justice’s report finding unconstitutional police practices in Chicago was scathing yet unsurprising, coming as it did amid months of tension following the fatal 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald by a white police officer and the much-delayed release of video...

  • As senators grilled Trump’s climate change skeptic EPA nominee, scientists said 2016 was warmest on record

    As senators grilled Trump’s climate change skeptic EPA nominee, scientists said 2016 was warmest on record

    Unsurprisingly, 2016 was the hottest year on record — the third straight year in which worldwide temperatures have reached record levels. Ironically, Scott Pruitt, the climate change skeptic whom Donald Trump has chosen to run the Environmental Protection Agency, just happened to be testifying...

  • How Trump can succeed

    How Trump can succeed

    Will Donald Trump be a “transformative” president? His predecessor did us the favor of defining the term. “I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not,” presidential candidate Barack Obama said in 2008. Reagan...

  • How to stop Trump: Lessons from the tea party

    How to stop Trump: Lessons from the tea party

    Donald Trump represents a grave threat to liberal democratic values. On Capitol Hill, Republicans are falling in line and some moderate Democrats have signaled a willingness to cut deals. But ordinary Americans have the power to resist. We know this is true because we have seen local, grassroots...

  • Words of encouragement for Donald J. Trump from James Buchanan, 15th president of the United States

    Words of encouragement for Donald J. Trump from James Buchanan, 15th president of the United States

    Sir: How long have I waited for your advent, prayed for someone like you to come along? All these years, since my death in 1868, I have watched each election cycle, hoping that finally my savior would appear, a man — heaven forbid it should be a woman! — who would rescue me from my status as the...

  • Patt Morrison asks: Lawyer Ted Boutrous Jr. on preserving the 1st Amendment under Trump

    Patt Morrison asks: Lawyer Ted Boutrous Jr. on preserving the 1st Amendment under Trump

    The White House press room evidently won’t be in the White House any more, but in a building next door. On national television, President-elect Donald Trump insulted CNN as a purveyor of “fake news.” He pledged to sue the “liars” — the women who have accused him of unwelcome sexual behavior toward...

  • Should the U.S. still carry a ‘big stick’?

    Should the U.S. still carry a ‘big stick’?

    To the extent that President-elect Donald Trump has articulated a coherent view of foreign affairs, it appears to be that the United States needs to reject most policies of the post-1945 period. NATO is a bad bargain; nuclear proliferation is a good thing; Russian President Vladimir Putin is an...

  • Woodrow Wilson's woman problem, a case study for the Trump era

    Woodrow Wilson's woman problem, a case study for the Trump era

    Donald Trump will not be the first president upstaged by a mass demonstration of women. The consequences depend on whether both he and modern-day feminists learn from their predecessors’ experience. When Woodrow Wilson pulled into Washington’s Union Station the day before his inauguration 104 years...

  • Obama commuting Chelsea Manning's sentence was an entirely defensible act of mercy

    Obama commuting Chelsea Manning's sentence was an entirely defensible act of mercy

    By definition, the exercise of clemency is an act of mercy,  not the meting out of mathematical justice. President Obama’s  decision to commute the sentence of Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning is a defensible use of that power. The obvious argument for mercy is Manning’s recent ordeal as a transgender...

  • Boycotting the inauguration may be the right protest but the wrong battleground

    Boycotting the inauguration may be the right protest but the wrong battleground

    Nearly 50 Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives, or about a quarter of the minority party’s caucus, plan to skip Friday’s inauguration of the 45th U.S. president. Their ranks include at least 15 members from California, whose districts voted overwhelmingly for the candidate who won’t be...

  • California’s latest boycott is well-meaning but ill-conceived and ineffective

    California’s latest boycott is well-meaning but ill-conceived and ineffective

    Boycotts are having a moment. There is a boycott by liberals against retailers who carry the Ivanka Trump clothing line, for example, and another by conservatives against Kellogg’s for removing its advertising from an alt-right website. Macy’s has been hit from both ends: President-elect Donald...

  • Allowing concealed weapons on college campuses is a silly, and dangerous, idea

    Allowing concealed weapons on college campuses is a silly, and dangerous, idea

    College, we like to think, is a time of intellectual inquiry. But it is also, as anyone who has spent any time on a campus knows, a time of boundary-testing, experimentation and alcohol-fueled parties. Not exactly the kind of place where it makes sense to let folks wander around carrying hidden...

  • How important is empathy? We may overvalue it

    How important is empathy? We may overvalue it

    Does the ability to share the feelings of another person make us better human beings? Fans of empathy describe it as working like a spotlight, focusing us on specific individuals, driving us to feel as they do, and making us care. This sounds good, but it has its perils. Spotlights illuminate what...

  • I’m a Washington lobbyist. Don’t hate me

    I’m a Washington lobbyist. Don’t hate me

    I am a Washington lobbyist. Mine is one of the most reviled professions in America. According to a Gallup poll, people rate the honesty and ethics of lobbyists lower than any occupation measured — and that includes car salespeople and telemarketers. I have to be registered with the government and...

  • President Obama, the millennial whisperer

    President Obama, the millennial whisperer

    President Obama will be seen by historians as the first president to bring millennial values to the challenges of the Oval Office. He isn’t a millennial (in fact he has two millennial children), but his leadership style and beliefs reflect America’s largest and most diverse cohort. And while much...

  • UC needs a tuition hike, but also a clearer vision of its identity

    UC needs a tuition hike, but also a clearer vision of its identity

    The price of attending the University of California wasn’t going to stay the same forever. After keeping a lid on tuition and fees for six years, UC leaders are now seeking to raise tuition by 2.5%, or $282, and the student service fee by 5%, or $54. The money will be used to maintain and improve...

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