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405 posts
  • Opinion
  • The Golden State
 
  (David Liam Kyle / Getty Images)

LeBron James is coming to Los Angeles. For the next three years at least, the greatest basketball player in the world will be playing for the Lakers.

But while we’re all still celebrating the purple and gold’s impending return to basketball relevance, here’s a fun fact I’d like to remind my fellow Angelenos: Our new basketball savior doesn’t like to drive.

Not only does he not like to drive, LeBron James is a cyclist. It’s his preferred method of transit. He’s been known to ride his bike to and from games. He holds annual “bike-a-thon” charity events in home state of Ohio. He bought a stake in the bike company Cannondale. He’s even got the spandex.

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  • Trump
  • Opinion
  • Rule of Law
Sen Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is among Senate Democrats calling for a delay in confirmatrion hearings for the next Supreme Court nominee.
Sen Bob Casey (D-Pa.) is among Senate Democrats calling for a delay in confirmatrion hearings for the next Supreme Court nominee. (Andrew Harnik / AP)

It’s easy to see why Senate Democrats feel frustrated about the prospect of President Trump filling a second vacancy on the Supreme Court now that Justice Anthony M. Kennedy has retired. (Trump said Friday that he will announce his choice on July 9.)

Still fuming — and rightly so — about the way Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) made it possible for Trump to appoint Neil Gorsuch to the court, the Democrats are arguing for  delaying consideration of a second Trump nominee until after the midterm elections.  

Their hope is that Democrats will regain control of the Senate in November and thus deny an unacceptable Trump nominee the votes necessary for confirmation. (And it’s pretty clear that a lot of Democrats will consider any Trump nominee unacceptable.)

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  • Trump
  • Opinion
  • Rule of Law
Seema Verma, a top Trump administration health official, has led the push to add work requirements to Medicaid.
Seema Verma, a top Trump administration health official, has led the push to add work requirements to Medicaid. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Call it situational principles about the separation of powers.

Republicans complained bitterly about the Obama administration effectively rewriting federal laws through regulation and enforcement decisions — and they were occasionally right about that (see, e.g., the decision to flat-out ignore the statutory deadlines for the requirement that larger employers offer health insurance to their full-time workers). But they have cheered on the Trump administration’s efforts to do the same in multiple arenas (see, e.g., just about everything the Environmental Protection Agency has been doing).

That’s left the courts to rein in the administration, and a federal judge in Washington did so in the nick of time Friday. Vox reported that U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg blocked an administration-approved plan by the state of Kentucky to require Medicaid recipients to work or participate in training programs in order to remain insured.

  • Trump
  • Opinion
  • The Swamp
Fifty people from more than 20 countries took the oath of citizenship in Oxford, Miss.
Fifty people from more than 20 countries took the oath of citizenship in Oxford, Miss. (Bruce Newman / Oxford Eagle via AP)

One of the defining aspects of the Trump administration — beyond chaos and confusion, insults and petulance — is the relentless attacks on foreigners and immigrants. The administration has capped refugee resettlement for this year at 45,000, one of the lowest levels since 1980, and has endorsed legislation that would cut legal immigration to 40% of current levels while ending the decades-old policy of focusing immigration on family reunification.

He also has tried to end protected status for 690,000 “Dreamers” — people who have lived here without permission since arriving in the country as children — and lifted protections for 310,000 people stranded in the U.S. by disasters and turmoil in their home countries.

  • Opinion
  • Guns and Ammo
The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., published on Friday, a day after a gunman killed five people in the paper’s newsroom.
The Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., published on Friday, a day after a gunman killed five people in the paper’s newsroom. (Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

An attack on a newspaper is the same as an attack on the Constitution, on the nation’s earliest face of the 1st Amendment.

Thursday’s murders at the local newspaper in Annapolis, Md., were allegedly committed by a man who police say staged “a targeted attack on the Capital Gazette.”

The targeted killing of journalists is something we think of as happening elsewhere — in Mexico, where journalists are gunned down by drug lords and their cronies; in Russia, where journalist critics of Vladimir Putin turn up dead; in Syria and Afghanistan; in France, where Islamic State supporters massacred Charlie Hebdo magazine journalists.

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  • Opinion
  • Plastic Trash
  • The Golden State
A Coca-Cola vending machine in the basement of the state Capitol
A Coca-Cola vending machine in the basement of the state Capitol (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

Gov. Jerry Brown used some strong words Thursday in a rare signing message for a bill temporarily banning local governments from taxing soda and single-use plastic in exchange for the soda industry withdrawing a ballot initiative that would have made it harder to raise taxes.

“An abomination,” Brown called the initiative.

The ballot measure, which was funded primarily by soda companies such as Coca-Cola and Pepsi, would have raised the threshold for approving a local tax measure to a two-thirds vote. Currently, some taxes can be approved with a simple majority of local votes cast. What Brown found particularly objectionable was the language that would have expanded the definition of a state tax subject to a two-third vote of the Legislature to cover some types of fees that state agencies currently have the authority to impose.

  • Opinion
  • Guns and Ammo
Police gather near the offices of Capital Gazette Communications in Annapolis, Md., after a shooting.
Police gather near the offices of Capital Gazette Communications in Annapolis, Md., after a shooting. (Zach Gibson / AFP/Getty Images)

If newspapers are the first draft of history, Twitter represents the notes that should have been crumpled up and thrown away.

The shocking news about the shootings Thursday at the Annapolis, Md., offices of Capital Gazette Communications, which publishes the Capital and the Maryland Gazette, prompted a considerable amount of finger-pointing and blame-assigning even before police announced a death toll, let alone identifying the shooter or his motive.

Some outlets are just now reporting a name, adding that it appeared to be a guy who’d lost a defamation lawsuit against the Capital. If so, that would contradict the operating assumptions fueling the flow of angry hot takes for the first few hours after the shooting — for example, that it was motivated by President Trump’s incessant attacks on the news media or by Rep. Maxine Waters’ call to confront Trump’s top appointees wherever they might be found (no, that one doesn’t make any sense to me either).

  • Trump
  • Opinion
President Trump meets with Republican Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), left, and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
President Trump meets with Republican Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), left, and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). (Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

Donald Trump is going to get a second Supreme Court pick, and there’s nothing Democrats can do to stop him.

There are, however, two people who can. And they may be willing to put a leash on the president and his worst excesses: Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

When it comes to confirming a Supreme Court justice, Republicans hold all the cards. They control the House and also enjoy a 51-49 majority in the Senate. But Collins and Murkowski could flip that advantage if they choose. And they have shown a willingness to flex that muscle.

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  • Opinion
  • The Golden State
Maybe Californians want to continue setting their clocks back and forth an hour twice a year. The governor should let them decide.
Maybe Californians want to continue setting their clocks back and forth an hour twice a year. The governor should let them decide. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

It’s up to Gov. Jerry Brown to decide whether to sign a bill placing a measure on the November ballot to end the archaic practice of changing clocks twice a year. The California Legislature has already given the proposal its blessing, and the governor should too.

This measure would not necessarily end California’s observance of daylight saving time. If approved by the voters, it would repeal a 69-year-old ballot measure (the Daylight Saving Time Act) that forced the semi-annual clock adjustments and leave Californians on Pacific Standard Time (which is what we currently observe from November to March). The Legislature could later decide, by a supermajority vote, to switch California permanently to Pacific Daylight Time, which we are observing right now.

Endless daylight saving time is the intent of the Legislature, though it would require federal approval.

  • Opinion
  • Election 2018
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez takes a selfie with a man in New York.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez takes a selfie with a man in New York. (Seth Wenig / Associated Press)

There must be a lot of soul-searching going on among Democratic Party leaders today about what to make of the surprise upset of veteran Rep. Joe Crowley (D-New York) by newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Latina socialist Democrat in Tuesday’s primary.

Good. It’s time they had an honest self-appraisal when it comes to their support of issues people care about and that make the young candidates, particularly women and ethnic minorities, eager to participate. Couldn’t the party establishment see that this majority-minority district might go for a charismatic candidate over a middle-aged white guy incumbent? Now they look foolish and deserve a bit of mockery. Well, maybe not all of it.

(I’m betting not being nice enough to Trump was not a factor in the outcome of this Democratic Party primary. Or any of them. Ever.)