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September 9, 2012
Like the Republican convention that preceded it, the Democratic National Convention was a combination of infomercial, revival meeting (with former President Clinton in the role of evangelist in chief) and audition for rising political stars. Also like the Republican gathering, it was predictably longer on general pronouncements than on precise policy prescriptions. Still, the convention in Charlotte, N.C., effectively dramatized important differences between the two parties and their candidates.
September 2, 2012 | By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly was thundering on the chamber floor against a proposal to make drivers stay 3 feet from cyclists, a regulation he said would chip away at Californians' liberty. As his voice rose, a Democratic colleague stepped in. "I'm tired of you hollering on the floor!" shouted Assemblyman Warren Furutani of Gardena, who urged Donnelly to "use his inside voice. " The interruption was met with scattered applause. That was Monday, the first day of a marathon week in the Capitol.
August 31, 2012 | By Michael Finnegan, Los Angeles Times
TAMPA, Fla. - There were plenty of promises at the Republican National Convention that Mitt Romney and his running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul D. Ryan, would level with the American people about sacrifices needed to protect the nation from fiscal ruin. "We will not duck the tough issues," Ryan told thousands of party loyalists who filled the arena of red, white and blue. Left largely unspoken was exactly what hard choices the Republican ticket would ask the American people to make.
August 29, 2012 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO -- What Gov. Jerry Brown said recently about his proposed tax hike was complete balderdash. And I'm betting he was the first to know it. He is not ordinarily delusional, after all. The wily old politician proved that his comment was hogwash Tuesday when he flew to Los Angeles, the state's biggest media market, to trumpet a new legislative compromise aimed at controlling public pension costs. Brown had proclaimed that his soak-the-rich tax initiative on the November ballot was not about pensions or scandals or anything else except forcing the wealthy to pay more to avoid draconian cuts in education funding.
June 24, 2012 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
BEIRUT - A day after Syria shot down a Turkish jet, officials from the neighboring countries moved to tamp down tensions Saturday as they mounted a joint rescue operation for two pilots still missing in the eastern Mediterranean. The incident dramatically escalated tensions between two countries whose relations were already severely strained because of Turkey'stacit support of the 16-month uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad. But there was a notable lack of bellicose rhetoric Saturday emanating from both capitals, Ankara and Damascus, underscoring the explosive potential of the incident.
June 16, 2012 | By Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times
SAN FRANCISCO — The bicyclist was zipping south on Castro Street at the end of his twice-weekly ride to the Marin Headlands, blowing through red lights and stop signs. But the Market Street crosswalk was filled with pedestrians, and Chris Bucchere, 36, allegedly was riding too fast to stop. So he aimed for the least populated spot and plowed on through. "In a nutshell, blammo," a blogger purporting to be Bucchere wrote that March day. The man he hit, Sutchi Hui, 71, died four days later.
June 7, 2012 | Meghan Daum
Lest you think the bullying and foot-stomping of Congress most resemble a tantrum-prone bunch of second-graders, think again. Data compiled by the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan group focused on greater transparency in Washington, has shown that today's congressional "dialogue" is actually on a par with a 10th-grader's verbal prowess. By running our representatives' speeches through what's called the Flesch-Kincaid readability test, which associates longer sentences and more complex words with higher grade levels and scores them accordingly, researchers found that Congress' rhetorical skills had taken a dive since 2005, when they were at an 11th-grade level.
May 25, 2012 | By Leah Ollman
"I Feel Your Pain," Liz Magic Laser's captivating 2011 performance piece, begins with a couple nibbling popcorn in a theater and sharing a shy kiss. "Hey," the man asks his flushed companion, "can I read you what I wrote in my journal last night? It's about you. " The sweet, early moments of a courtship, clearly. But no. Actually the words are adapted from an interview Glenn Beck conducted with Sarah Palin in 2010, in which he muses, hopefully, about whether she is "the one. " What ensues over the next 80 minutes of Laser's work -- on video, in the New York artist's first L.A. show, at Various Small Fires -- is simultaneously absurd, disturbing, comical, creepy and revealing.
April 19, 2012 | Meghan Daum
President Obama displayed quick damage-control reflexes last week when he called out Democratic pundit Hilary Rosen for claiming that Ann Romney, mother of five, had "never worked a day in her life. " It was "the wrong thing to say" and "not something I subscribe to," the president said. He also rolled out the old chestnut that almost always gets invoked amid ugly battles over motherhood and women's career choices. "There is no tougher job than being a mom," he said. Might we possibly consider retiring that idea?
April 15, 2012 | Doyle McManus
On April 15, everyone's in favor of tax reform. Nobody can survive the ordeal of preparing a federal income tax return without concluding that there must be a simpler, fairer way to pay for the federal government. And so - as inevitably as death and, well, you know - the presidential campaigns promise us some kind of tax reform. President Obama spent much of last week promoting his "Buffett rule," a proposal to require anyone who makes more than $1 million year to pay federal taxes at a minimum of 30%. It's a matter of basic fairness, he says.
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