February 8, 2012
What rational basis is there for telling same-sex couples they can't marry? Why … none, really, as the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals wisely confirmed Tuesday by upholding a federal judge's decision that Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution. There has to be a good reason for any law if it restricts the rights of a group of people who have long been the targets of bigotry. Proposition 8 never had such a reason. It was, rather, an ill-advised expression of bigotry that the court exposed.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 6, 2012 |
California's proposed bullet train is being recalibrated. And designers may finally be on the right track. Sensitive to growing public and political opposition, high-speed rail officials seem to be coming to a rational conclusion: It makes good sense to begin service ASAP in urban areas where people might actually ride the trains. Construction still would start next fall in the rural San Joaquin Valley, the thinking goes. But simultaneously there'd be major upgrades to conventional lines in the Los Angeles and San Francisco regions.
January 6, 2012
Congressional Republicans were shocked, shocked , when President Obama circumvented a Senate filibuster by appointing a director for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without the consent of Congress. The appointment of former Ohio Atty. Gen. Richard Cordray did, in fact, push the edge of the constitutional envelope. But it was a rational response to an increasingly gridlocked Congress and a growing willingness among lawmakers to employ procedural tools to stop the executive branch from functioning.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 29, 2011 |
Jasmine Delgado is one of the lucky ones. With advice from an older sister, the Santa Monica College student developed a plan that has helped her enroll in the classes she needs to transfer next year to a four-year university. But many California community college students lack the motivation, guidance and resources to reach that goal. So, for the past year, a statewide task force has been studying ways to help them get there. The panel held its first town hall meeting this week at the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce, attracting a packed audience of educators, community members and students who were given an overview and the chance to comment on draft recommendations that will be presented to the California Community Colleges' Board of Governors.
September 3, 2011
Life and death Re " Putting a price on added life ," Column, Sept. 2 As I expected, your article — that a health insurer refused to pay for a life-extending treatment that it had previously paid for, and that had worked, for the same person — both saddened and angered me. I can't get my head around the insurance companies and our healthcare situation. But the irony was another article in the Business section titled "Health Insurers ordered to publicly justify rate hikes.
July 13, 2011 |
Nearly half the country's population sweltered under essentially triple-digit temperatures, as brutal heat and humidity afflicted a vast swath of the nation from New England to Texas. At least 15 states were under heat warnings Tuesday. The heat advisories — issued when the combination of temperature and humidity makes the perceived temperature more than 100 degrees — covered areas where 150 million people live, representing nearly half the nation's 310 million people, said Eli Jacks of the National Weather Service.
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.
May 28, 2011 |
The most troubling thing about the current drug accusation against Lance Armstrong is that, at first blush, it doesn't seem to be all that troubling. Famous cyclist, seven-time winner of the Tour de France, is accused of enhancing his performance. Yawn. Yet another of his former teammates points a finger, and does so on national television, CBS' "60 Minutes," no less. The teammate, Tyler Hamilton, with little comprehensible reason to lie, fesses up to his own drug-enhancing use and goes into detail about wheres, whens and hows of Armstrong's use. In some cases, he does so as an eyewitness.
April 24, 2011 |
At the place I lunch every day in an effort to cut down on life choices, I've been reading a Tolstoy-sized article in the New Yorker about Scientology. Nearly every day, some patron raids my airspace, saying something like, "I read that article. " Eye roll, then, "What whack jobs. " L.A. finds Scientology so endlessly fascinating that weeks after publication, people are still talking about the article all over town. Why? Here's a theory: There is no city on Earth that makes rationalization more difficult than Los Angeles.
April 18, 2011 |
Several years ago, I was asked to speak on end-of-life issues at a retreat for Southern California physicians. A number of doctors there brought up one particular case: an 82-year-old woman who'd suffered a massive heart attack while visiting her daughter. Her story captures the difficult choices that keep us from controlling healthcare spending. Unless we all confront those choices, the costs of medical care will consume us, stealing away an ever-larger share of our national wealth and driving federal budget deficits to catastrophic levels.