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July 19, 2011
We didn't just survive "Carmageddon" last weekend, we basked in it. Neighbors had dinner together. Angelenos strolled to their local coffee shops and biked around town. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky gushed that Los Angeles residents "have turned Carmageddon into Carmaheaven. " People waxed wistfully that we should do this every weekend. Well, no, we can't do it every weekend. Just as Carmageddon was a construction success because time was built into the schedule for things to go wrong (nothing did)
July 13, 2011 | By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey / For the Booster Shots blog
Drinking six to eight glasses of water each day is healthful, most health experts agree. But apparently not everyone is on the same page. A general practitioner from Scotland says that health advice is “thoroughly debunked nonsense” and is propagated by bottled water companies out to make a profit. In a commentary published online in the British Medical Journal , Margaret McCartney quotes experts that say drinking too much water can cause hyponatremia (low sodium levels in the blood)
July 6, 2011
A prosecutor assigned to investigate the CIA's use of torture has decided not to recommend further investigation of as many as 100 CIA interrogations of detainees over the last decade. That judgment ensures that there will not be a full accounting of how, when and by whom "enhanced interrogation techniques" were employed to extract information. That is a loss to the nation. The prosecutor, John Durham, did advise the Justice Department to continue an investigation in two cases in which detainees died in custody.
June 28, 2011
Day after day, Frank McCourt manages to expose the Los Angeles Dodgers, the once-revered franchise he now owns, to new indignities. His feud with Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig prompted Selig to install a representative to examine the team's finances. McCourt has struggled for the last few months to scrounge up the cash to make the team's payroll. And now, in an effort to hold off Selig and maintain control of the team, he's put the Dodgers into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. We're hardly in a position to deride bankruptcy protection — for better or worse, it's an accepted tool in the modern business kit — but McCourt's use of it suggests his desperation in his increasingly shrill campaign to keep the team he bought in 2004.
June 21, 2011
John Bryson's nomination to be President Obama's next secretary of Commerce has been met with the predictable combination of delusion and obstructionism that characterizes the modern confirmation process. Some Senate Republicans vow to hold him hostage to the passage of several long-sought free-trade agreements; others insist they will reject him based on his presumed politics, which they wish were more like theirs. None has advanced an argument worthy of defeating this nomination, and though sensible people will withhold a final judgment until after Bryson is questioned, his credentials are encouraging, as are the endorsements of those who know him. Bryson is a familiar figure in Los Angeles.
April 29, 2011
To help balance the city's budget, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa made what appeared to be an irresistible offer to thousands of public employees: If they agreed to pay more of the cost of their retirement benefits and to delay a promised pay hike, the city would stop the furloughs that were shrinking their paychecks. Groups representing more than two-thirds of the workers covered by the proposed contract amendment accepted it, but four did not. Those rejections suggest that the naysayers weren't given the right incentive to support the deal.
April 20, 2011
The winning electoral coalition assembled by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s has been compared to a three-legged stool, the legs being social conservatives, fiscal conservatives and national security conservatives. As the 2012 Republican race takes shape, another leg has been added to the stool — the "tea party" movement. Last week, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney announced that he was setting up an exploratory committee (though it's hardly a secret what he'll discover), as did former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
April 12, 2011
The recent Sturm und Drang in Washington over a possible government shutdown was just a warm-up act for the more significant budget disputes to come this year. Rather than haggling over a few billions of dollars in spending, the debate over the budget for the next fiscal year will involve trillions of dollars worth of deficits and debt. And shortly after Congress adopts a budget, it will have to decide whether to raise the limit on federal borrowing beyond the current cap of $14.3 trillion.
April 3, 2011
Washington's prolonged fight over the current fiscal year's budget seemed to be wrapping up last week when negotiators for the House, Senate and Obama administration reportedly agreed in principle to cut spending by $33 billion — about as much as leaders of the Republican-controlled House initially sought. Then Republicans aligned with the "tea party" movement threatened to scuttle the compromise, demanding the full $61 billion in cuts that they'd pushed through the House in February.
March 31, 2011
The Supreme Court seems poised to overturn a modest effort by the state of Arizona to increase the candidate choices placed before voters and reduce the corruption associated with large special-interest campaign contributions. The conservative justices who were skeptical of the law and its rationale at Monday's oral arguments should think again. Upholding the law would not violate their convictions about campaign finance. The Arizona law provides a lump sum to candidates who agree to accept public financing and to abide by restrictions on fundraising and limits on how much they can give to their own campaigns.
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