CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 15, 2011 |
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charles E. Horan rejoiced over last month's state audit that savaged the California court system's mismanagement of a costly new computer system. "This is the sort of thing we have been complaining about," exulted the Pomona judge. "Do you think perhaps now people ought to pay attention to what we're saying?" In 2009, Horan helped found a group of judges to challenge the power and authority of the state's judicial leadership. After two years of being marginalized as a fringe clique of black-robed dissidents, the group of largely anonymous judges is now making friends in Sacramento and gathering strength.
March 10, 2011 |
The men trickled into the gravel-filled courtyard in twos and threes, walked past the junked whirlpool tub and yellow toddler slide in the corner and entered a wide shed with a red carpet to welcome home one of their own. The guest of honor was a 40-year-old university professor named Mohammed Abdulkarim, who had just returned from 10 weeks in solitary confinement for a post to his Facebook page about a succession struggle in the Saudi royal family....
March 4, 2011 |
He remembers the desperate pleas of the men at the gallows as they were about to be hanged. Their faces were hidden by black hoods. A man at the podium declared the two had acted against Col. Moammar Kadafi, who had just taken over as leader of Libya. "'We didn't do anything, we didn't do anything,'" he remembers the two men pleading. "'Oh, God. We are not guilty.' And then they started reciting the Koran. " That was four decades years ago, and Anwar Magariaf, who would grow up to become a devoted militant against Kadafi, was perhaps 11 years old. He began to cry. "Kadafi started killing us from the day he came to power," the dissident said.
March 2, 2011 |
In the winter of 1978, soon after I entered my teens, I began seeking solitude on the roof of our leaky house in Benghazi. I'd head up with a few thin books and a pack of cigarettes, and the wide horizon and dramatic skies of our warm winters were all mine to contemplate. I also began contemplating the Pakistani beauty who lived in the three-story apartment tower behind our house. She was a few years older than I, so there was no chance of a relationship. And though I never got a close look at her face, I am certain that it did my growing aesthetic sensibility much good to study the straight lines of her slim figure dressed in various designs of shalwar kameez . She often lay in her neat bed with her back to me, and I studied the dip in the waist, the discernable climb of the hips and her feet arranged, right heel tucked into the arch of the left, like the yin snug inside the yang.
February 27, 2011 |
On Feb. 11, 1979, Islamic revolutionaries took power in Tehran. On Sept. 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda terrorists launched their attacks on New York and Washington, killing nearly 3,000 Americans. On Feb. 11, 2011, Hosni Mubarak resigned as president of Egypt. That these things all occurred on the 11th of the month is coincidental, but the events themselves are not unrelated. One of the worst mistakes Americans have made over these three decades has been to overlook their common roots.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 23, 2011 |
Leaders of a California labor group battling the giant Service Employees International Union alleged in a lawsuit Tuesday that the SEIU engaged in a pattern of violent threats and strong-arm tactics against dissident unionists. The suit, filed in Superior Court in San Francisco, is the latest salvo in the bitter intra-union clash pitting the SEIU against the breakaway National Union of Healthcare Workers. For two years, the rival group has been trying to woo SEIU members at California hospitals and healthcare facilities.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 16, 2011 |
Quietly and carefully, a movement of dissident teachers has been taking shape within United Teachers Los Angeles. It began last fall, with e-mails and telephone calls among a group of disaffected and disappointed teachers. By year's end, some 50 of them had volunteered to become official members of UTLA's policy-making body, the House of Representatives. On Jan. 8, the group held its first strategy session. At the meeting, which I attended, teachers shared their grievances with both UTLA and LAUSD and talked about their plan to lobby for dramatic changes in union leadership and focus.
December 11, 2010 |
The Nobel Peace Prize was placed Friday on an empty chair in Oslo's city hall, creating a potent new symbol of the struggle for human rights and political reform in China. Laureate Liu Xiaobo would have been sitting in that chair, were he not locked away in an obscure prison in northeastern China. Liu, a poet and essayist, is serving an 11-year sentence for penning a manifesto calling for the end of one-party rule and for greater freedoms in China. He has not been seen in public since he was moved to his current prison in May. An enraged Chinese government dismissed the prize as an "anti-China farce" honoring a "criminal," and successfully lobbied 18 countries to join its boycott of the ceremony.
December 10, 2010 |
Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese dissident imprisoned for his efforts to promote democracy in his homeland, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in absentia Friday in a solemn ceremony shunned by Beijing but attended by dignitaries and celebrities from most of the world's countries. A giant photo of Liu smiled out on the audience a few feet away from the potently symbolic empty chair where he would have sat had China allowed him to receive the award in Oslo, Norway. Liu, 54, is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for "inciting subversion of state power" because he helped draft a manifesto known as Charter 08 calling for democratic reform.
December 1, 2010 |
As protesters poured into the streets of Iran in the aftermath of the disputed 2009 reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, U.S. diplomats scrambled to decipher the erupting political crisis and the goals of the opposition's so-called green movement, according to recently disclosed diplomatic cables. The diplomats hurried to understand without the benefit of an official outpost in Tehran, a result of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Instead they read news bulletins and spoke with allied embassies in places like Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Turkey and Dubai, United Arab Emirates.