Opinion L.A.
Observations and provocations from The Times' Opinion Staff
Top 10 feminist fiascoes of 2014

Since a delicious feminist folly occurs nearly every day, I had a hard time picking the sweetest of the cherries off the cupcakes. But here goes, more or less in descending order of absurdity:

The “gang rape” hoax at UVA:  Rolling Stone’s 9,000-word feat of “investigative reporting” smelled worse than a bucketful of day-old chicken heads from the day it was published on Nov. 19. A three-hour serial sexual assault atop a pile of glass shards as a fraternity-initiation ritual? Really? Yet many feminist (but fortunately not all) in America bought into this over-the-top tale because … it’s a feminist axiom that no woman ever lies about rape. Over at #Istandwithjackie, they’re still standing with alleged victim Jackie even though her story has been chopped into glass-shard-size pieces by real reporters doing their jobs.

Wendy Davis: Who came up with the idea that because she looked so cute in those pink sneakers filibustering abortion restrictions in 2013, she’d make a winning candidate for...

Read more
Pandora cites free speech to defend against artist demands for royalties

Led by key members of the 1960s rock band the Turtles, oldies artists have persuaded a series of judges in California and New York that they are entitled to royalty payments from Sirius XM.

Those artists are suing Pandora as well, claiming the online broadcaster violated their copyrights under California law to songs they recorded before February 1972. On Friday, Pandora struck back, moving to dismiss a federal class-action lawsuit by the Turtles' Flo & Eddie because it allegedly violates Pandora's 1st Amendment rights.

The motion doesn't change the central legal question in the case, which is whether state law actually provides artists a copyright over the recordings they released before Congress expanded federal copyright law to cover sound recordings. Instead, it merely reframes the question, potentially forcing the artists to show they're likely to win the case before it can move forward.

And given that they've won cases like this three times, that may not be much of a hurdle....

Read more
Braving LAX for holidays? Have hope, in 10 years it's going to be a nice airport

The Los Angeles Airport Commission voted Thursday to move forward with a $4-billion plan for a people-mover train that will carry passengers through the airport and connect with a rail station and rental car center.

The timing for the vote couldn't have been better. This year when holiday travelers arrive at LAX and find an utterly unpleasant experience -- traffic jams on the arrival and departure decks, confusing shuttle pickup and few convenient transit options -- airport officials can honestly say, "We've got a plan to fix it."

LAX has been ranked among the nation's worst airports in terms of customer satisfaction. It's dingy, disconnected and dull. Airport officials have begun to address those long-standing problems. There are a bunch of new restaurants and stores, and construction is underway in all terminals as part of a major modernization effort.

It’s about time. Los Angeles politicians always talk about building “world-class” things. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wanted a...

Read more
Sony should've talked to Obama? Imagine how that would've gone down

So President Obama believes Sony did the wrong thing when it canceled plans to release “The Interview” in theaters — or on other platforms, for that matter — and essentially disappeared the movie. I thought Sony did the only thing it could do, given the fact that some theaters were refusing to show it and hackers were conveying threats to attack any theaters that did.  However, Obama made a pretty compelling case at his year-end news conference that the studio should have ignored the threats, noting that this was just a goofy comedy (my words, not his).  What if it were a serious documentary that North Korea or some other entity had objected to?

But then Obama said about Sony: “I wish they had spoken to me first.”


Well, first off, I realize that Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman Michael Lynton and Co-Chairman Amy Pascal are powerful people, but could they really have gotten the president on the phone ASAP as they dealt with other studio chiefs and theater owners and...

Read more
Obama wants you to see 'The Interview,' but don't hold your breath

Now what?

The FBI made it official Friday, announcing that it now has "enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible" for the destructive hacking attack on Sony Pictures last month. That brings us to the moment that Sony partisans have been waiting for since the attack began: the point at which the U.S. government does something in response.

President Obama echoed the FBI's message later on Friday at his end-of-year Q&A with the White House press corps. Referring to the North Korean government's involvement in the Sony attack, he said, "They caused a lot of damage, and we will respond. We will respond proportionately, and we’ll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose. It’s not something that I will announce here today at this press conference."

His statement was greeted by the sound of photographers' camera shutters snapping open and closed, which bore a certain resemblance to crickets.

The fact is, the feds don't have a lot of good...

Read more
How a family with divergent lifestyles and beliefs bonds on Christmas Eve

In today’s installment of “op-eds from Christmas past,” we revisit Melissa Hart’s 2012 op-ed, “O little joint in Ventura ....” In it, Hart describes a family tradition that takes place once a year at a Chinese restaurant in Ventura.

Two lesbians, a man with Down's syndrome and a Jewish couple walk into a Chinese restaurant on Christmas Eve. Sounds like the setup to a joke, yes? Nope. This is my family, doing what we've done for a decade.

Separated by differing philosophies, as well as locations, we have no other tradition. I don't know who got the idea to spend Dec. 24 eating egg rolls and mu shu pork at a Chinese restaurant in Ventura. Doesn't matter. Regardless of what political and social arguments have ensued during the year, we all drive or fly in to go to the restaurant and the big round table by the fish tank.

This month, my husband sent me an e-card that read, "Let's celebrate the birth of Jesus by going out for Chinese food." Apparently, the tradition isn't exclusive to us. I...

Read more