April 11, 2014 |
Reading is such an improbable idea -- a miracle, really. Yet simple squiggles on a page, arranged just so, can convey ideas that change the way we think or introduce to us characters we love for a lifetime. In celebration of reading -- and of this weekend's Los Angeles Times Festival of Books -- we asked four readers (who also happen to be writers) to celebrate books that mattered in their lives. If you want a friend in Washington, the saying goes, get a dog. But if you're looking to understand Washington, I'd recommend fiction.
April 7, 2014 |
For years, Republicans benefited from economic growth. So did pretty much everyone else, of course. But I have something specific in mind. Politically, when the economy is booming - or merely improving at a satisfactory clip - the distinction between being pro-business and pro-market is blurry. The distinction is also fuzzy when the economy is shrinking or imploding. But when the economy is simply limping along - not good, not disastrous - like it is now, the line is easier to see. And GOP politicians typically don't want to admit they see it. Just to clarify, the difference between being pro-business and pro-market is categorical.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 4, 2014 |
SAN FRANCISCO - For more than two decades, Leland Yee climbed the political ladder in San Francisco. A child psychologist turned politician, Yee straddled opposing camps in the city's bare-knuckled political fights, appealing to both right and left and catering to constituents with a strong, attentive staff. Elegant in appearance and charming in manner, he courted financial contributors and built a reputation as a canny pol with an enviable knack of identifying the high-profile issue of the day and then weighing in before a thicket of cameras.
March 28, 2014 |
If it is true that state Sen. Leland Yee consorted with criminals and did them political favors in return for campaign cash, it is indeed "sickening," as Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said. But this newest scandal, along with the indictment of Sen. Ronald S. Calderon on bribery and corruption charges in February, is merely an extreme example of the long-standing and pervasive pay-to-play culture that permeates the Capitol. Yee, a San Francisco Democrat, was swept up in an FBI sting targeting a gangster known as "Shrimp Boy" and faces federal charges related to public corruption and conspiracy to illegally import firearms.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 27, 2014 |
SACRAMENTO -- There's no shortage of offbeat characters in San Francisco who are drawn to City Hall. Willie Brown was harassed by an Elvis impersonator. Gavin Newsom was stalked by a man wearing purple latex gloves. Democratic strategist Nathan Ballard, who spent a decade working in City Hall, said Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow was one of those characters. “I just remember him showing up at events and trying to get pictures with politicians,” Ballard said. The Chinatown gangster was trying to make a name for himself as a legitimate community leader after being released from prison in 2003.
March 26, 2014 |
Americans have low - exceedingly low - opinions about government. It's supposed to stay out of their hair until needed, at which point it's supposed to solve problems instantly. For the full range of American needs, government is supposed to provide only two things: competence and honor. For Democrats who have long championed government as a force for social good, competence is perhaps the biggest potential victim of the rocky rollout of the Obamacare insurance program. Millions of Americans will gain coverage under the plan - some enjoying insurance for the first time - but their voices have been drowned out by the months-long criticisms of websites that wouldn't work, deadlines that had to be extended, exceptions that had to be made.