CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 7, 2012 |
SACRAMENTO — California's new voting system may have been designed largely to shake up the polarized state Capitol, but Tuesday's election made it clear that the promised political earthquake will have to wait. Despite newly drawn districts and a primary system that allowed cross-party voting — changes that backers said would produce more moderate lawmakers — California could face continued partisan brinkmanship, at least for a while. Just a few centrists emerged Tuesday in contests marked by some of the lowest voter turnout in state history, less than 25%, according to the secretary of state's latest tally.
June 4, 2012 |
Partisan differences now divide Americans more sharply than distinctions of race, religion, education or sex as a decade-long wave has pushed Democrats and Republicans to opposite corners on a wide range of formerly less partisan issues. On matters as disparate as environmental protection, support for the social safety net and immigration, former areas of bipartisan agreement have dissolved as Democrats have moved left and Republicans have shifted to the right, according to a major new study by the Pew Research Center , which has tracked American values over the last 25 years.
May 16, 2012 |
WASHINGTON — As President Obama welcomed congressional leaders for a White House chat over hoagies about setting aside differences to improve the economy, a far different scenario was unfolding at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Republicans in the House and Senate were conducting a series of partisan maneuvers Wednesday on legislation that has no chance of reaching the president's desk. The votes in the Senate on budget measures, which would slash social programs and revamp Medicare, were designed to underscore the GOP's alternatives to Obama's policies in advance of the November election.
May 11, 2012 |
I'm a lifelong Democrat and a career educator. So I'm predictably appalled by Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has cut spending for schools and stripped teachers - and most of the state's public workers - of collective bargaining rights. But I'm also appalled by the recall campaign against Walker by Wisconsin Democrats, who Tuesday chose Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to run against Walker in a June 5 special election - a rematch of the 2010 contest. The recall epitomizes the petty, loser-take-all vindictiveness of contemporary American politics.
April 24, 2012 |
The Supreme Court hears oral arguments Wednesday on the constitutionality of Arizona's 2010 immigration enforcement law. If upheld, SB 1070 would require local police in most circumstances to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop based only on a reasonable suspicion that the person is unlawfully in this country. It would also compel residents to carry their immigration papers at all times and create state immigration crimes distinct from what is covered by federal law. A few other states, such as Alabama and Georgia, and some cities have passed similar laws, and many more may consider such laws if the Supreme Court finds Arizona's law to be constitutional.
April 5, 2012 |
We got our first real glimpse this week of how President Obama and his now-almost-certain Republican rival, Mitt Romney, intend to wage their campaigns in the lead-up to the general election. In a speech Tuesday, Obama painted Romney as an out-of-touch patrician who doesn't care much about the troubles of hardworking people low on the income ladder. Romney soon fired back, painting Obama as an out-of-touch liberal who doesn't care much about the struggles of honest businessmen who want to create jobs.
March 29, 2012 |
"Fast and Furious," the federal government's ill-fated operation to track gun sales along the Mexican border, set out to penetrate drug cartels before it spiraled out of control. Under the program, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives watched, but did not arrest, purchasers of high-powered weapons with hopes of tracking the guns back to the cartels. Instead, the ATF lost track of more than 1,700 guns, some of which later turned up at crime scenes in the United States and Mexico, including two found near Tucson where a Border Patrol officer was shot to death.
March 26, 2012 |
With just a few days standing between Congress and its spring recess, lawmakers are hurtling into a busy workweek that could provide a defining political contrast between the parties for election season. House Republicans will devote much of the week to their signature legislative document, Rep. Paul Ryan's 2013 budget, which slashes federal spending, lowers taxes and revamps Medicare. The proposal is essentially dead on arrival in the Senate as Democrats have steadily attacked the plan as ending Medicare in favor of tax breaks for the rich.
March 21, 2012 |
The Roman Catholic Church in Mexico this year took the unusual step of issuing guidelines on how Mexicans should vote in the upcoming presidential election: Candidates should value marriage as a bond between a man and a woman and should place prime importance on "the right to life, starting at conception. " Both ideas were clearly aimed at leftist parties and others who have backed same-sex marriage and abortion, legalized in recent years in Mexico City. Pope Benedict XVI arrives Friday to a Mexico that, officially, is a strictly secular nation.
March 14, 2012 |
The judicial confirmation wars are clearly escalating when Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) calls for a halt to the carnage. Coburn, dubbed "Dr. No" for his unyielding opposition to many of his colleagues' ideas, including judicial appointments, proclaimed this month that the confirmation wars must end. He said: "I think the very issue [of judicial selection] is what makes Americans sick of what we're doing. It's a tit for tat. We've got to get beyond that. The problems are too great for our country.