The individual mandate in the 2010 Affordable Care Act forced the courts to consider anew the limits of Congress' power to regulate the insurance market. Now, a California law governing the size of hens' cages is testing the limit of a state's power to regulate interstate food sales.
At issue is a 2010 law that bans the sale of eggs from hens kept in cages that California voters deemed too small in 2008, when they passed Proposition 2. Sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, the ballot measure requires the state's egg-laying hens, calves raised for veal and pregnant pigs to be housed in a way that allows them to stand up, turn around and extend their limbs fully.
This week, top officials from five states -- Alabama, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska and Oklahoma -- joined the federal lawsuit that Missouri Atty. Gen. Chris Koster filed last monthagainst the 2010 law, which is slated to take effect next year. The suit contends that the law violates the Constitution by improperly...
There was already something kind of amusing about Bitcoin, a currency backed by the full faith and credit of magical thinking and traded (until a virtual heist) by, among others, a Tokyo-based company whose name, Mt. Gox, comes from “Magic: the Gathering Online Exchange.”
The capper might have been when Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy protection: a cryptocurrency for people who don’t trust government, asking for government’s help.
But no! The latest Bitcoin dramatic apogee was a weird sidewalk media congerie and an L.A. car chase that would have done Mack Sennett proud.
A man who may or may not have been Bitcoin’s founder was sussed out at his house in the middling suburb of Temple City, after Newsweek’s sleuthing — via naturalized citizen registration cards and the man’s lifelong love of model trains — identified Dorian Sakoshi Nakamoto hiding in plain sight under his real name. (The reporter has since come in for a mudslide of name-...
So is the predawn bicycle sprint down the route of the L.A. Marathon off or on on Sunday? Looks like it’s more off than on.
Never officially sanctioned by the city of Los Angeles, officials kind of went along with it for the last few years that Don Ward and his group, Wolfpack Hustle — which organizes bike rides and races — put together the increasingly popular Marathon Crash Race, as it was called. The Police Department, according to Ward himself, did a great job working with him to keep the streets safe for racers, drivers and the “fun ride” participants who set off right after the racers got going. The problem is that not all the streets for the marathon route are closed off yet at the early hour of the bike race.
On Tuesday, the L.A. Department of Public Works sent Ward an official notice saying: no permit, no race — and face penalties if you put it on anyway. But Thursday afternoon, officials from the mayor’s office, the city attorney&...
It looks like the U.S. Border Patrol has opted for a policy of common sense.
As The Times editorial page wrote last week, and the news pages documented earlier, federal agents patrolling the Mexican border have been involved in dozens of confrontations in which agents stepped in front of moving cars as a pretext to open fire in self-defense, and also responded to rocks thrown at them across the border with deadly fire.
Border Patrol chief Michael J. Fisher on Friday told his agents to knock it off, though not in so many words. As The Times’ Brian Bennett reported, Fisher issued new guidelines that tell agents to move out of rock range when the projectiles come flying at them, unless there’s an imminent danger. And he ordered them not to shoot at fleeing vehicles, a policy that dovetails with operating procedures for most police departments.
Like young bucks at a county fair kissing booth, states are lining up for a chance to court Tesla Motors and its planned $5-billion battery factory. But fair warning, fellas: The intoxicating fragrance of Musk and his money masks a cold business heart.
Already a loser in the race for this California girl’s affections, though, is, well, California.
Oh, sure, we’re good enough to design and build the company’s eco-luxe Model S. And Californians bought more than one-third of the $70,000-and-up cars last year. And our tough pollution-control policies sure come in handy, allowing Tesla to sell environmental credit to other automakers; those tens of millions of dollars it rakes in annually are a big source of its revenue.
But apparently that’s all yesterday’s prom news. Tesla has reportedly boiled down the list of suitors for the battery plant and its 6,500 or so jobs to Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas.
Uh, did I mention that company founder Elon Musk...
A couple of recent news articles about local approaches to housing issues offer a pretty stark contrast in smart policy and, well, not-so-smart policy.
In the smart category, cities such as Washington and Philadelphia have long struggled with trying to strike an economic balance in reviving high-poverty, high-crime neighborhoods. The usual progression is that a battered area attracts some adventurous and dedicated residents who buy property and work hard to improve their new neighborhoods. The efforts pay off, the area becomes a magnet for new residents and gentrification takes over — making it more expensive for those who lived there through the bad times to stay there during the good times.
As the New York Times reports, several cities have turned to what can best be described as a targeted Proposition 13 — offering longtime residents a property tax-hike cap, so as the neighborhood properties increase in value, they aren’t forced out because they can’t afford...
Is it possible to have a truly nonpartisan state office in California? Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo) proposed this week making the job of secretary of state a nonpartisan position. Currently, candidates cite a party affiliation, and the seven candidates now running for the job include Democrats and Republicans, along with a Green Party member and an independent.
Gorell didn’t cite any specific incidents of partisan dealings in the secretary of state’s office, which oversees elections and processes campaign finance and lobbying disclosures. But the specter of the 2000 presidential election and the seemingly political decisions made by then-Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, a Republican, hangs over the office.
In theory, the job of secretary of state should be a nonpartisan office. As former Assemblyman Fred Keeley told The Times, “There should not be even the suggestion that someone with partisan motives has their finger on the scale while overseeing...
After last week’s storms, the biggest deluge around is the onscreen one that puts Noah and a worldful of other creatures aboard an ark.
Darren Aronofsky’s Biblical blockbuster “Noah” launches at the end of this month, and the inundation of ads and trailers will now include this disclaimer, described by Paramount as an “explanatory message”:
“The film is inspired by the story of Noah. While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the Book of Genesis.”
Why issue a disclaimer that liberties were taken with a feature film based on a story that hasn’t a splinter of historical proof? That is, nothing apart from some geological evidence of large-scale floods predating the Old Testament, floods that may be responsible for other cultures’ similar rescuer-...
FilmL.A. produced another one of its gloomy reports on runaway production Thursday, this time looking at the 108 films released last year by the 11 leading studios. One of the most galling findings: More of those films had been shot in Louisiana than in the state that's home to 10 of those studios (that would be California, in case you've forgotten).
Louisiana, really? That's almost as bad as the Lakers getting stomped by the Pelicans.
What's worse, as my colleague Richard Verrier reports, California's share of big-budget films has shrunk dramatically. Of last year's 25 releases with budgets larger than $100 million, California was the primary shooting locale for just two (count 'em, 2). That's compared to 16 out of 25 in 1997, back before the "Pied Piper of tax credits" started luring filmmakers away from the Golden State.
Numbers like these are the inspiration behind a More...
OK, listen up, all you dumb users of smartphones: In spite of what Massachusetts’ high court decided, no, it isn’t OK to take “upskirt” pictures of unsuspecting women.
On Wednesday, in the land of the Puritans and the home of “Banned in Boston,” all hell broke loose after the state Supreme Judicial Court overruled a lower court in a case involving one Michael Robertson, who seemed to think it was clever to use his cellphone in ways Apple or Samsung never intended.
But Robertson got away with it because the state’s Peeping Tom laws don’t apply to such behavior, the court found. As my colleague Michael Muskal reported:
“A female passenger on a MBTA trolley who is wearing a skirt, dress, or the like covering these parts of her body is not a person who is ‘partially nude,’ no matter what is or is not underneath the skirt by way of underwear or other clothing,” the court said in its ruling.
Doh! Imagine Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal’s surprise when she received one of her own campaign mailers only to discover the photo on it was not her longtime home of Long Beach, where she wants to be mayor, but a picture of San Diego.
The giveaway was the skyline, which was obviously different, and the giant Navy vessel docked in the harbor.
Lowenthal told Times reporter Christine Mai-Duc that she had approved a nighttime photo of the Long Beach skyline for the brochure and was "shocked" when she received the piece in the mail. Her campaign staff apparently flagged the wrong photo and has apologized profusely.
Ah well, if you’ve seen one coastal California city, you’ve seen them all. And, really, how different are Long Beach and San Diego anyway?
Will the mix-up hurt Lowenthal? It’s unclear. She’s a front-runner among the 10 candidates running for mayor. She just snagged the endorsement of Gov. Jerry Brown. But the field also includes familiar local names...