March 16, 2014 |
These might be the best, busiest, most complex weeks of the year in our house, and it's all because of two threads. One red, one green. The most important is the red one - the cultural tether that stretches back to Chengdu, China, where our daughter, Grace, was born in 2004. Grace was 13 months old when my wife, Mary Frances, and I arrived to adopt her and bring her home to Los Angeles. In our early days as a triple-A (Asian American by adoption) family, I thought we might face some cultural barriers, draw stares, confuse people.
June 9, 2013 |
As Americans await U.S. Supreme Court rulings this month on two same-sex marriage cases, June - the traditional month for weddings and pride parades - gives gay people the chance to reflect: How have their own lives and views changed since a Hawaii court ruling first thrust marriage equality onto the national stage 20 years ago? And what might a fully legal marriage mean to them? For many gay people, including for me, the weight of this prospect has taken a while to sink in. Each time a hurdle to equality is removed, I find myself looking to the next roadblock.
November 25, 2010 |
At this time of year, do you ever find yourself wondering if turkey the bird has anything to do with Turkey the country? Is it really a coincidence that the main course of our national meal shares its name with a large Muslim country that stretches from Europe to the Caucasus? After all, besides being the star attraction at Thanksgiving dinner, the turkey is a bird so American that Benjamin Franklin wanted it as our national symbol. (He considered the bald eagle to be "of low moral character.
January 19, 2014 |
Computer science is driving innovation across all fields, so it makes sense that the Los Angeles Board of Education wants to provide its students with access to the latest technology. Students who develop expertise in computer science will have automatic career advantages. But is the district taking the right steps? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has found that computing occupations are among the fastest-growing job categories in the United States and that such jobs pay about 75% more than the national median annual salary.
September 20, 2010 |
Support is mounting for efforts in Congress to stop granting birthright — that is, automatic — citizenship to the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. Such a measure would bring America's citizenship policies into line with those of most of the rest of the world, where even the children of legal noncitizens do not automatically become citizens of the country where they are born. It's not hard to see why many Americans would like to change the law. The Pew Hispanic Center issued a report in August indicating that one out of every 13 babies born in the United States in 2008 — about 340,000 out of a total of 4.3 million — had at least one parent who was an illegal immigrant.
July 10, 2013 |
When God saw that our egos needed deflating, he invented Skype. Skype is the 21st century invention that sci-fi movies had been predicting for decades: phonavision. Actually it's "computavision," with a tiny camera at the top of your computer screen. Very "Futurama. " But what "Soylent Green" and other futurist movies didn't tell us is that this new invention makes you look like you died a week ago Thursday. I enthusiastically signed up for Skype a few years back when my grandchildren were still toddlers.
March 25, 2012 |
River deltas are among the most biologically productive ecosystems on Earth, and for millions of years the delta of the Colorado River was no exception. After a 1,450-mile journey from its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains south into Mexico, the Colorado sustained verdant marshes teeming with life before emptying into the aquatic Eden of the upper Gulf of California. In 1922, the great naturalist Aldo Leopold canoed through the delta, which he described as "a milk and honey wilderness" and a land of "a hundred green lagoons.
September 29, 2013 |
News came last month that the Obama administration, following the lead of British Prime Minister David Cameron and his government's so-called Nudge Unit, is recruiting behavioral scientists to help shape regulatory policy. Nudges are ways of offering choices that make people more likely to choose a particular option but preserve their ability to make a different choice. This usage of "nudge" was coined in 2008 by economist Richard Thaler and legal scholar Cass Sunstein, but the concept was first studied more than a decade ago by economist Brigitte Madrian and insurance executive Dennis Shea.
June 9, 2011 |
The story of Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal and Sarah Shourd, the American hikers who in July 2009 crossed the border — inadvertently, all evidence suggests — from Iraqi Kurdistan into Iran and were imprisoned for espionage, is back in the headlines. Shourd, who was released in September on humanitarian grounds and after paying $500,000 in bail, has been promoting a "rolling hunger strike" to remind us that Bauer and Fattal remain in Tehran's Evin Prison without a trial date or access to their lawyer.
June 8, 2012 |
In 1933, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the very first farm bill, formally called the Agricultural Adjustment Act, he told the nation that "an unprecedented condition calls for the trial of new means to rescue agriculture. " That legislation, passed as the country struggled to emerge from the Depression, was visionary in the way it employed agricultural policy to address significant national issues, including rural poverty and hunger. It may not seem obvious while standing in the aisles of a modern grocery store, but the country today faces another food and farming crisis.