June 25, 2012 |
In a column last week, I argued that Mitt Romney's “Mormon problem” is basically over now that he's sewn up the Republican presidential nomination. Romney's religion was a challenge for him in the Republican primary race, when many evangelical Protestants hesitated to support a Mormon; but now that we're in the general election campaign, that isn't likely to matter anymore. After I wrote, a new Gallup poll was released with an intriguing finding: The percentage of Americans who say they would not vote for a Mormon is virtually unchanged since 1967 -- 17% then, 18% now. That suggests that anti-Mormon feeling has been amazingly stable over half a century, a period during which voters' reluctance to support candidates who were black, female or Jewish declined dramatically.
June 10, 2012
It's been nearly a year since John Huppenthal, Arizona's superintendent of public instruction, decided to dismantle the Tucson Unified School District's Mexican American studies program by invoking an absurd new state law. The law, which was enacted in 2010 but took effect last year, outlaws school programs that "promote resentment toward a race or class of people" or that advocate for "the overthrow of the U.S. " or that encourage "ethnic solidarity...
June 8, 2012 |
WASHINGTON -- President Obama says he has "zero tolerance" for leaks of classified information and that his administration investigates every such instance. He stopped short of saying there is a specific investigation underway into the source of recent news stories about U.S. drone strikes against terrorists and cyber-attacks on Iran's nuclear program. But Obama said that leaks of classified information about national security matters make life harder for him and put American civilians and military in harm's way, and that his administration tries to make sure that sources of such leaks "suffer consequences" for their actions.
May 26, 2012
Re "States finding zero tolerance in schools no longer adds up," May 23 One of the reasons that schools favor zero-tolerance policies is that they remove the school from reasoning, critical thinking and individual evaluation. They can just look up the punishment and administer it. Neat and tidy. If a parent questions the punishment, the school can say it's out of its hands. We expect our schools to teach children critical thinking and to interpret what they read using their own individual views.
May 23, 2012 |
AURORA, Colo. - On May 2, D'Avonte Meadows, a 6-year-old with an infectious grin and rambunctious streak, was suspended for three days from Sable Elementary in suburban Denver for crooning "[I'm] Sexy and I Know It" to a girl in lunch line. The school declared it sexual harassment and told his parents that, because D'Avonte sang the same song to the same girl before, he is a repeat offender. The news media pounced. And Stephanie Meadows, D'Avonte's 29-year-old mother, gave her bewildered son, a special needs student, a crash course in birds, bees and sexual boundaries.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 16, 2012 |
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck is under fire from his civilian bosses, who increasingly are troubled by his reluctance to punish officers they found had killed or wounded people unjustifiably. "If this pattern continues, it could undermine the entire discipline system and undermine the authority of the commission," said Robert Saltzman, a member of the Police Commission and associate dean at USC's law school. "It runs the risk of sending the message to officers that there will be no consequences.
April 15, 2012 |
When Sparks General Manager Penny Toler learned last fall her team had landed the top overall pick in Monday's WNBA draft, she jumped and laughed. "I was real surprised," said Toler, whose team had a sparse 104 chances out of 1,000 to receive the first overall selection, the fewest of any of the four teams in the lottery mix. It was much-needed good fortune for a team that has recently teetered toward the unlucky. Superstar Candace Parker has missed more than half of the Sparks' games over the last two seasons because of injury, playing in 27 of 68 regular-season games.
February 19, 2012 |
Question: Our homeowners association has what seems to be miles of greenbelts and landscaping that is not water-efficient. Our board of directors and their friends, who constitute the majority of owners, are of the same mind-set in that they refuse to use drought-tolerant plants and do not encourage more efficient water use by association gardeners. They say they like how grass and lush vegetation make our development look rich and add to the value of our properties. They pay no attention to rising water bills.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 8, 2012 |
The park surrounding Los Angeles City Hall will soon be getting a California makeover, with less green grass and more native and drought-tolerant plants. The City Council voted Tuesday on a plan to restore the grounds around the building after the sprawling lawn was destroyed last year by the Occupy L.A. encampment. Officials considered several options, including one that called for much of the grass to be replanted and another that would have eliminated nearly all of the turf and replaced it with plants that require less water.
February 5, 2012
Washington state is promenading down a controversial aisle that's familiar to Californians after its Senate approved a bill last week legalizing same-sex marriage. The lower house and the governor are expected to approve the bill as well. But such civil rights victories can be fleeting, as Californians learned after a court decision legalizing gay marriage was overturned by Proposition 8 in 2008. A similar battle is looming in Washington, where opponents plan to gather signatures for a November ballot initiative declaring marriage to be reserved for opposite-sex couples only.