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October 4, 2011 | By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Those shocked by the inclusion of Chaz Bono on this season's "Dancing With the Stars" would do well to check out the ESPN documentary "Renée" — there is nothing new under the sun, not even transgender individuals taking center stage in a national competition of athletic prowess. From childhood, Dr. Renée Richards, born Richard Raskind, seemed destined for an extraordinary life, though none could guess it would include competing on the women's professional tennis circuit after having gender reassignment surgery at age 40. Raskind was an accomplished athlete all his life, playing tennis throughout his college career at Yale and while serving in the Navy.
July 27, 2011 | Bill Dwyre
The Roger Clemens circus has run its course. Call in the clowns. The fat lady is singing. On July 14, his trial was stopped in its second day. Government prosecutors had allowed inadmissible information to be seen. The judge remarked that they had made a mistake that a first-year law student wouldn't. Hard to pick sides here: Bumbling government lawyers or an allegedly juiced-up major league pitcher? On Sept. 2, lawyers will weigh in again with arguments on whether to start a new trial.
June 5, 2011
Looking at Liu Re "Impaired judgment," Opinion, June 1 There is a reason that attacks like those made on Goodwin Liu, who recently asked that his nomination to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals be withdrawn, are called "Borking. " This horrible process began with the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's bizarre attack on Robert Bork, a recognized constitutional scholar whom President Reagan nominated to the Supreme Court. Ever since then, federal court nominees have been targeted by ideological opponents of the administration nominating them.
May 12, 2011
Religious institutions in this country that object to homosexuality have nothing to fear from the gay-rights movement. Freedom of religion constitutionally protects them from having to perform same-sex marriages or elevate gays and lesbians to the clergy. Yet as society opens itself to new viewpoints over time, those perspectives influence people of faith. So it was that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) this week voted to allow the ordination of gay ministers, elders and deacons.
February 22, 2011 | By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times
With a wary eye on popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, Chinese leaders are calling for new ways to defuse social unrest in what appears to be an ominous harbinger of tighter controls on the Internet and elsewhere. Splashed across the front page of Monday's People's Daily newspaper were highlights of a speech given by President Hu Jintao at a Saturday meeting that included all nine members of the Politburo's standing committee and senior cadres from around the country.
January 1, 2011 | Mark Heisler
How to write about the labor situation so readers' eyes don't roll back in their heads ... Assuming, of course, anyone got this far. The basic approach is to present the facts and arguments and let readers go from there, per Thomas Jefferson's "marketplace of ideas. " With NFL and NBA management and their players in alternate universes preceding next season's expected rumbles, it's like translating for warring species. Tell them we'll unleash such a storm, there'll be another Ice Age before Super Bowl LXV or whatever we're up to!
December 24, 2010 | Mike Bresnahan
Meet the Miami Heat, the pro basketball team America loves to hate. Its players are booed in packed arenas across the country. Fans bring homemade signs. They write derisive messages on their T-shirts. And they shout insults. When the Heat comes to Staples Center on Saturday afternoon to play the Lakers, the team is likely to get the same unwelcome treatment. The primary target of this anger is LeBron James, one of the best players of his generation. He left Cleveland, where he was beloved, for Miami to team with fellow All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in hopes of winning a National Basketball Assn.
December 19, 2010 | By Cathleen Decker, Los Angeles Times
Kamala Harris, the state's next attorney general, last week announced a transition leadership team that was a marvel in its political heft: two former secretaries of State ? of the country, not of California ? and a host of other luminaries. The list drew attention for its implication that Harris' ambitions were not stunted by her nail-biter victory over Republican Steve Cooley in November. But as much as it might have hinted at her future as a candidate for an even higher office, the list also underscored Harris' intent to accomplish something harder: upending decades of California attitudes about crime and punishment.
December 16, 2010 | By Peter Mansoor and Max Boot
The Obama administration's Afghanistan assessment, due out Thursday, reportedly indicates uneven but real progress. Fed a steady diet of gloom and doom, including Wednesday's headlines about negative intelligence assessments, many Americans will be surprised at this finding. But in any far-off guerrilla war, perception back home often lags battlefield reality by several months. It certainly did in Iraq during the "surge" in 2007. So too in Afghanistan, where the buildup of U.S. forces, completed only this fall, is already having a considerable impact, although public opinion hasn't caught on yet. Even with the recent increase in U.S. troops, bringing the NATO force to 140,000, there are not enough forces to conduct a comprehensive campaign across the entire country.
December 5, 2010 | By Brian Powell
In 1948, the idea of interracial marriage in the United States was almost unimaginable. The few polls on this topic at the time showed that Americans were nearly unanimous in their disapproval of it. There is little evidence that Californians felt any different. Yet that year saw the legalization of interracial marriage in California ? not because voters approved it or because legislators supported it but because California's courts ruled that banning it violated the U.S. Constitution.
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