Newsletter: Opinion: More rain and fewer homeless veterans -- our wishes for 2016
Good morning. I'm Paul Thornton, and it is Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016. Here's a look back — to last year! — at the week in Opinion.
If The Times' editorial board wants its New Year's wishes to come true, should it even say what they are?
The question comes to mind reading the editorial board's assessment of its hopes for 2015 (a process it describes as "sobering") and reflects on the wishes that didn't come true — immigration reform, more accessible Supreme Court arguments, high turnout in local elections — and acknowledges the handful that did.
But since hope springs eternal — especially at the start of 2016 — the editorial board has published its wishes for this year. They range from serious — closing Guantanamo Bay prison and ending veteran homelessness — to whimsical, including "a roster full of Clayton Kershaws" for the Dodgers, and snow. Here are several more things the editorial board would like to see in 2016:
Faster growth in the U.S. and California economies. As 2014 drew to a close and the national unemployment rate fell below 6%, we saw the first tentative signs that wages were starting to grow. That's a trend worth nurturing, considering how long wages have stagnated for low- and middle-income Americans.
A concerted effort by the Legislature and the Los Angeles City Council to make it as easy to start a business here as it is to move to Texas.
Pope Francis to give the news media a break by preaching the occasional boring sermon.
Rain. Lots of it.
An overhaul of the federal tax code that broadens the tax base by winnowing the thicket of tax breaks, allowing lawmakers to lower rates without driving up the deficit.
An end to the impasse between Time Warner Cable and other local pay-TV operators that kept Los Angeles Dodgers games off most of their fans' TVs.
The Supreme Court to stop hinting and issue a definitive ruling that bans on same-sex marriage violate the Constitution's guarantee of due process of law and equal protection of the laws.
Critics of Obamacare to stop trying to repeal the law or render it unworkable through the courts. Instead, Republicans should use their control of Congress to address the act's shortcomings and do more to slow the growth of healthcare costs. One bug that needs fixing right away: the lack of premium subsidies for those who have access to affordable individual policies at work, but not affordable family coverage. It would be especially gratifying — though probably unlikely — if Republicans would use their clout in general to govern responsibly rather than to engage in pointless confrontation with the president.
Did we mention rain?
If you read a single piece with a somber outlook on 2016, make it this one: In an op-ed article, Michael Metzler writes movingly of losing his 17-year-old daughter to cancer in 2014 and how the new year puts more distance temporally between him and her death. He writes: "While memories of Hannah remain, like the comfort of lingering smoke from a favorite candle, the year's end will be coaxing us to throw open the windows and clear the air for rebirth and renewal. But I don't want to clear the air. I want to remember. I want to slow it all down and just sit for a while, not moving until I'm ready, not talking about it until I can get the words right." L.A. Times
Diana Wagman can't keep it together on New Year's Eve. She writes of never shedding a tear during Linus' monologue on the true meaning of Christmas and crassly making jokes about the disabled Tiny Tim. But come Dec. 31, her tough, unsentimental exterior cracks: "I am undone by the realization that another year has passed. So many resolutions made and broken. So many things I should have done but didn't. I should have worked harder and complained less. I should have exercised more and eaten less. I should have been a better friend, a better partner and a better mother." L.A. Times
These pictures might add "become a vegetarian" to your list of New Year's resolutions. Artist Mishka Henner stitched together publicly available satellite images to create high-resolution pictures that capture how the meat industry alters vast swaths of land. Henner writes: "When I think of these pictures, I don't just see gigantic farms; I see an attitude toward life and death that exists throughout contemporary culture. These images reflect a blueprint and a horror that lie at the heart of the way we live." L.A. Times
College kids today really do have a reason to protest — and tax-averse baby boomers might be a cause. In the 1960s, writes William H. Frey, most college demonstrators actually benefited from the status quo; for today's increasingly diverse student bodies, that's less true. Older baby boomers appear so intent on reducing their tax burdens that they're failing to invest in the educational systems that served them, creating a racial generation gap that must be bridged to avoid a crisis in this country. L.A. Times
That billowing methane cloud over Porter Ranch is a reminder of how un-sexy fighting climate change can be. Gov. Jerry Brown might get attention and praise for his grand talk about saving the planet, but the natural gas leak in a remote corner of Los Angeles shows that old-fashioned, local vigilance — like, say, a pipe inspection that could have prevented the Porter Ranch disaster — is a potent weapon in battling climate change. Sacramento Bee
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