December 20, 1990 |
A furor has erupted in Philadelphia over an editorial by the city's respected morning newspaper advocating that poor black women be given "incentives" to use new long-term birth control implants. The editorial, which ran last week in the Philadelphia Inquirer, has spawned days of talk radio programs, pickets at the newspaper, and a teary-eyed staff meeting Monday in which journalists who grew up in poverty argued that their newspaper had advocated that they never be born.
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.
June 17, 2013 |
Think back to the dark days of 2009, when school districts in California and across the nation faced dire budget shortfalls. States would have done almost anything for extra money, and when the Obama administration dangled Race to the Top grants in front of them, many of them did indeed race to adopt the policies that would win federal approval - such as including student test scores in teachers' performance rankings and adopting common curriculum standards....
January 16, 2014 |
Lying by and about politicians is a regrettable and probably permanent feature of American democracy. But should it also be a criminal offense? The Supreme Court has agreed to hear an argument by an antiabortion group challenging an Ohio law that criminalizes false statements about candidates for public office. The justices should allow the group's claim to proceed. Using criminal law to police truth in political debate is unnecessary and invites abuse. The Ohio law prohibits false statements about a candidate if they are made knowingly or with reckless disregard of whether they might be false.
July 10, 2013 |
On Monday, some 30,000 inmates across California began refusing meals to protest a state prison policy that often lands suspected gang members in solitary confinement indefinitely - a policy that Amnesty International has deemed to be "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in violation of international law. " In theory, the policy is intended to protect other inmates and to prevent gang members from continuing to organize criminal activity from...
April 3, 2014 |
On Wednesday, conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court continued their project of undermining reasonable attempts by Congress to limit the corrupting influence of money in election campaigns. The same 5-4 majority that lifted limits on corporate political spending in the Citizens United decision struck down long-standing limits on the total amount a citizen can donate during an election cycle. As in Citizens United, the majority held that the restrictions violated 1st Amendment protections for political speech.
March 12, 2014 |
Let's start by calling "student success fees" what they really are - thinly disguised tuition increases charged to students for basic educational services. These fees, which are being levied at many California State University campuses, can cost up to $1,000 a year, on top of the official tuition, which has nearly doubled since 2007 to about $5,500. Not counting room or board. Because Gov. Jerry Brown's 2014-15 budget would increase state funding by more than $140 million, Cal State has agreed to freeze tuition.
October 28, 2012
A new lawsuit against Bank of America illuminates the warped incentives that helped inflate the housing bubble and contributed to its calamitous collapse. Filed last week by the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, it focuses on allegations that Countrywide Financial Corp. (which Bank of America bought in 2008) pumped up the volume of loans it issued and then sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, regardless of their suspect quality. Manhattan U.S. Atty. Preet Bharara contends that Countrywide and Bank of America "cast aside underwriters, eliminated quality controls, incentivized unqualified personnel to cut corners and concealed the resulting defects" when they peddled the loans to Fannie and Freddie.
May 7, 2012
Concerned that mobile phone networks are becoming surveillance tools, the American Civil Liberties Union recently asked hundreds of local law enforcement agencies whether they've tracked people's movements through their cellphones. Most of those that responded said they had, usually obtaining the information from mobile phone companies without a warrant. The practice has become so routine, the ACLU found, that phone companies are sending out catalogs of monitoring services with detailed price lists to police agencies.
March 1, 2010
Now we know the truth. The infamous "Compton Cookout" at UC San Diego, where members of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity invited guests to celebrate Black History Month dressed as their favorite ghetto stereotypes, was not an isolated incident. Nor can it be chalked up to standard-issue frat behavior, in which a degree of misogyny, bigotry and drunken insensitivity is often shrugged off as normal college hijinks. Days after the cookout, the editor of the Koala, a campus publication known for mocking Muslims, Latinos and Asians, appeared on the university's student-run TV station to defend the event.