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426 posts
  • Trump
  • Opinion
  • Election 2018
Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at a fundraiser in Los Angeles on Aug. 2.
Democratic congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks at a fundraiser in Los Angeles on Aug. 2. (Eugene Garcia / EPA)

On Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s to-do list when she visited Los Angeles for two days last week? Host a downtown luncheon in support of Occupy ICE. Tour skid row. Participate in a Democratic Socialists of America-sponsored panel discussion at a Koreatown church.

Now, admittedly, several of these functions were fundraisers. Take the panel, for instance: Attendees paid $15. If you couldn’t pay, you could get a subsidized ticket. You could pay more if you wanted to, but you wouldn’t get a better seat.

Ocasio-Cortez, who last month won a surprise primary victory against a powerful incumbent congressman in New York City, skipped Hollywood altogether. According to the Hollywood Reporter, her people never even called Mayor Eric Garcetti. Compare this to other Democratic darlings’ tours and the contrast becomes evident. Tickets to Hillary Clinton’s final Los Angeles fundraiser ranged from $33,400 to $100,000; Elton John performed, naturally. President Obama took the same glitzy approach.

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  • Opinion
  • Guns and Ammo
  • We're All Doomed
Emmett Louis Till, 14, with his mother, Mamie Bradley.
Emmett Louis Till, 14, with his mother, Mamie Bradley. (Chicago Tribune File Photo)

How many times can racists kill a child, both physically and symbolically?

In August 1955, a 14-year-old African American boy from Chicago, Emmett Till, was visiting family in rural Mississippi when he supposedly flirted with or whistled at a 21-year-old white woman, Carolyn Bryant, who was working in the white family’s store. Four days later, her husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother, J.W. Milam, kidnapped Till from his uncle’s home, tortured him, shot him, then used barbed wire to tie a heavy metal fan around his neck and dropped the body in the Tallahatchie River.

After a fisherman found the body a few days later, Bryant and Milam were quickly arrested, tried and, after 67 minutes of deliberation, acquitted by an all-white jury. "We wouldn't have taken so long,” one of the jurors later said, “if we hadn't stopped to drink pop." A few months later, the two men admitted in an article in Look magazine that they had indeed killed Till.

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  • Trump
  • Opinion
  • Rule of Law
  • The Swamp
A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to revive DACA in full, though he gave the government 20 days to appeal.
A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to revive DACA in full, though he gave the government 20 days to appeal. (Maria Alejandra Cardona)

A U.S. district judge ruled late Friday that the Trump administration must fully reinstate the Obama-era Deferred Action for Children Arrivals program because President Trump’s decision to end it “was arbitrary and capricious” and the government’s legal justification “inadequately explained.”

Judge John D. Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia affirmed his earlier finding that the Department of Homeland Security failed to offer a reasonable argument for ending DACA, and that a more recent DHS memo rationalizing the decision to end deportation protections for the so-called Dreamers “fails to elaborate meaningfully on the agency’s primary rationale for its decision: the judgment that the policy was unlawful and unconstitutional.”

  • Opinion
A police officer stands guard outside the New York Times building on June 28.
A police officer stands guard outside the New York Times building on June 28. (Associated Press /Mary Altaffer)

It’s becoming routine: The New York Times hires someone for its opinion section who’s not a usual suspect, and an aggrieved group on the right or left starts a flame war. The latest target: Sarah Jeong, a tech writer for the Verge, whom the Times’ editorial board officially snapped up Wednesday.

Jeong’s critics have been recirculating a number of tweets she made from 2013 to 2015 that blast white people in general, white men in particular. Here’s an example:

A 2014 tweet by Sarah Jeong, stored at the Internet Archive.
A 2014 tweet by Sarah Jeong, stored at the Internet Archive. (Internet Archive)

Jeong says the tweets were taken out of the larger context in which they were uttered — she was responding in kind to some of the abuse she’s received on Twitter, where it’s open season on female tech writers (being Asian only intensifies the heat, evidently). She offered two examples of the latter, only one of which is printable: “If I saw you, I would sock you right in your lesbian face.”

Pope Francis changed Catholic Church teaching to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances.
Pope Francis changed Catholic Church teaching to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances. (Alessandra Tarantino / Associated Press)

Pope Francis threw the weight of the Catholic Church behind the death-penalty abolition movement on Thursday, releasing a new church teaching that says – quoting a speech by the pope last year – that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person.” That may come as a surprise to Catholics who thought the church already opposed the death penalty.

And it did, in most instances, as spelled out in Catechism No. 2267, which Francis changed in May but didn’t announce until he released a “Letter to the Bishops” on Thursday. The Church previously carved out an exception for an execution “if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.” Though it also said such circumstances “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent,” as Pope John Paul II wrote in his 1995 “Evangelium Vitae” on the sanctity of life.

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  • Opinion
MoviePass is now on life support. We will miss it dearly when it goes.
MoviePass is now on life support. We will miss it dearly when it goes. (Darron Cummings / AP)

These are dark times, friends.

California's on fire, again, and seemingly always will be. The economy is allegedly doing well, but the numbers on our paychecks remain stagnant. No one in the White House knows how to change the president's Twitter password. It has been 13 whole months since we last saw a new "Game of Thrones" episode.

And now, our beloved MoviePass is as good as dead. Let's call it advanced life support, with deep-pocketed investors providing infusions of cash to stop the whole thing from flatlining for good.

  • Opinion
  • We're All Doomed
  • The Golden State
(Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

The Trump administration announced on Thursday it would make good on its threats to end Obama-era fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks. 

Environmental advocates across the country are livid. And, yes, at first glance this action may like seem a catastrophic blow to the effort to curb the effects of global warming. Tailpipe exhaust from vehicles is now America’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions.

Here’s the thing: Obama’s fuel efficiency rules were, in actual practice, decidedly unhelpful. In many ways they made things worse. And I’m not just being a counterintuitive troll.

  • Opinion
  • We're All Doomed
Humanity has already spent its sustainable natural resources budget for the year - and it's only Aug. 1.
Humanity has already spent its sustainable natural resources budget for the year - and it's only Aug. 1. (NASA)

Researchers for the Global Footprint Network say the world, as of Aug. 1, has used up all the sustainable global resources for the year, meaning that we are “using nature 1.7 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate. This is akin to using 1.7 Earths.” And Aug. 1 marks the earliest global consumption has crossed that sustainability line — or Earth Overshoot Day, as the organization calls it.

So what does that really mean? According to GFN, we reach overshoot when “humanity’s annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth’s ecosystems can renew in that year.” Or as the Quartz website put it, it’s “the equivalent of drawing down capital rather than living off interest.”

And that’s not good.

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  • Opinion
  • We're All Doomed
Morning commuters face very heavy traffic on I-10 West.
Morning commuters face very heavy traffic on I-10 West. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The Trump administration is so eager to roll back an Obama-era mandate that cars, light trucks and SUVs become more fuel efficient, it’s planning to throw every possible justification for doing so against the wall to see what sticks.

One assertion: People will drive less if their vehicles get fewer miles per gallon, lowering the risk of crashes. That’s according to excerpts from a draft of the administration’s proposal obtained by the Associated Press.

This is a stretch, as several experts told the AP. There is little evidence that more driving equals more crash fatalities. Since the mid-1970s, the number of vehicle miles driven each year has increased while the number of motor vehicle fatalities has decreased.

  • Trump
  • Opinion
  • The Witch Hunt
President Trump on Wednesday again urged Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions to fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.
President Trump on Wednesday again urged Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions to fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. (Saul Loeb, Nicholas Kamm / AFP/Getty Images)

It’s every employee’s nightmare: the boss asking — no, demanding — that you do something he knows you can’t do.

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions has been living that nightmare for a year and a half. It took a darker turn Wednesday morning, when President Trump called on Sessions to do something that would cement the attorney general’s place in the history books, and not in a good way.

The key line is in the third tweet in this sequence, after the long quote from Trump apologist Alan Dershowitz: