July 1, 2012
A photo of a man building a house may look exactly like a picture of him making repairs or one of him taking the place apart brick by brick, so it can be hard to tell whether a snapshot shows the beginning, the middle or the end of a major project. And so it is with this year's state budget: Are we watching California being put back together or witnessing its demolition? A generation of Californians has lived through several spasms of financial restructuring, some of which hit us from outside, some of which we created ourselves.
June 24, 2012 |
Cronkite Douglas Brinkley Harper: 820 pp., $34.99 Walter Cronkite was not inclined to introspection, and historian Douglas Brinkley emulates his subject in this thorough biography of the news broadcaster who in 1972 was declared "The Most Trusted Man in America. " Brinkley's lengthy narrative spends as much time on Cronkite's stints as a paperboy as on his father's alcoholism and his parents' divorce. The author seems more interested in the ins and outs of Cronkite's strained professional relationship with Dan Rather than in his 65-year marriage - though smart, sardonic Betsy Cronkite gets her due as the woman who could cut Walter down to size.
June 7, 2012
There are reasons not to extract too many lessons from Gov. Scott Walker's convincing victory in the Wisconsin recall election Tuesday. For one thing, he faced a weak opponent in Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and for another, he vastly outspent Barrett to win by 7 percentage points. Most important, voters seemed to understand that a recall wasn't the right remedy for Walker's actions. As California was forced to learn the hard way, the recall is a better device for removing a governor who has engaged in misconduct than for punishing one over policy disagreements.
April 28, 2012
A Times editorial on Wednesday called on Congress to shore up Social Security quickly, as its looming insolvency would only get more difficult to address as time dragged on. But Business columnist Michael Hiltzik, in a piece that ran the same day , wrote that Social Security benefits should be expanded. Hiltzik pointed out that the Social Security Trust Fund ran a large surplus last year. Noting the difference in outlook between the two articles, reader Bob Murtha of Santa Maria wrote: "Times editorial board members and Hiltzik need to get together to compare notes.
April 11, 2012 |
BEIJING — The Chinese state media left no doubt Wednesday about their view of Bo Xilai, the charismatic son of a revolutionary and until recently one of China's most powerful people. "Bo Xilai's conduct has seriously violated the party's disciplinary rules, damaging the affairs of the party and the country and badly harming the image of the party and country," said an editorial Wednesday morning in the People's Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party. "There are no citizens who are privileged before the law, and the party does not allow privileged members who stand above the law. " Bo a day earlier was suspended from his political positions and his wife was placed under arrest on suspicion of killing a British man who'd been a family friend.
April 10, 2012
The price of power Re "Activists feeling burned," April 6 Southern California has many large, empty rooftops that could easily support a sea of solar panels. Exploitation of this vast resource, which is already connected to the grid, should be a top regional priority. Unfortunately, the decision-makers at our utilities prefer to stick with an outmoded business model that relies on corporate point-source energy production, in which solar power plants are substituted for coal-fired ones.
April 3, 2012
A day after representatives of 83 nations promised "additional appropriate measures" to shore up the Syrian opposition, a special United Nations envoy said Monday that the Bashar Assad regime will withdraw troops from populated areas by April 10, with a mutual cease-fire to begin within 48 hours. To put it mildly, skepticism is in order. Assad has reneged on similar commitments in the past, and Russia, one of his two supporters on the U.N. Security Council, shows no signs of abandoning its ally.