November 28, 2013 |
One hundred and fifty years ago, with the country still torn by civil war, President Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for all Americans to observe a common day "of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. " That's when Thanksgiving evolved from a holiday celebrated by states and the federal government on their own timetables into a national one held on the fourth Thursday of every November. We are far less divided as a country now than we were in Lincoln's day, but we're still split sharply, even bitterly, on some major issues.
October 10, 2013 |
Congress has spent much of the last three years stumbling about like a traveler who's lost his map, with no coherent strategy for bolstering the weak economy or putting more jobless Americans back to work. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve has worked indefatigably, creatively and bravely to keep borrowing costs low, which has helped the housing industry regain its footing and encouraged U.S. businesses to expand. President Obama sought to keep the Fed on track Wednesday, nominating the reserve board's No. 2, Janet L. Yellen, to be its new chair.
August 15, 2013 |
We learn in the opening moments of "Herblock: The Black & the White" that when famed Washington Post editorial cartoonist Herbert Block (best known by the signature in the film's title) was young, he drew a chalk caricature of Kaiser Wilhelm on the sidewalk, taking pleasure in the notion that his neighbors would be walking over it. Block never lost the glee that came from creating images that would stir the pot and champion causes close to his heart. Michael Stevens' (son of filmmaker George Stevens Jr.)
July 19, 2013 |
On Thursday, members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences handed out the first Emmy nomination to a television series that wasn't delivered over the airwaves or cable. In fact, three such series - two dramas and a comedy, all delivered by Netflix over the Internet - garnered a total of 14 nominations. With that, the academy acknowledged the latest step in the evolution of TV: the expansion of high-quality original programming from broadcasting and cable to broadband. That's not necessarily welcome news for traditional TV networks and pay-TV operators, but it's an encouraging sign for everyone else.
May 23, 2013 |
As Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti assembles his new administration, it is interesting, and encouraging, to note the odd confluence of circumstances that will leave him beholden less to factions or special interests and more to the people of Los Angeles. Garcetti may be the most politically progressive mayor Los Angeles has seen in recent history. He has been a friend to organized labor, including the city's public employee unions. But the biggest city unions, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and the unions representing Department of Water and Power workers, firefighters and police officers all cast their lots with Controller Wendy Greuel, helping to raise and spend millions of dollars for her campaign and for independent campaigns backing her. Greuel came up short, and they came up short with her. Money sometimes makes the difference, and in fact the independent expenditure groups led by labor were relatively successful at electing many of the candidates on their slate to the City Council.
May 16, 2013 |
President Obama may be engaging in political damage control in proposing that Congress resurrect legislation to protect the confidentiality of journalists' sources. But his call for action on a federal shield law is welcome even if it is inspired by a desire to deflect criticism of the Justice Department's seizure of the phone records of the Associated Press. Although described as a "reporter's privilege," protection for confidential news sources actually benefits the public by making it easier for journalists to obtain information about wrongdoing in government and elsewhere.