Author Archive

Vermont Politics Revisited

Posted on March 23, 2015 by

Vermont’s Agriculture Secretary was explaining how cows, horses sheep and pigs count as livestock but – under the definition of small farms – goats, water buffalo and llama do not. Huddled around a table in a cramped meeting room on the second floor of the statehouse in Montpelier, the nation’s smallest capital city, the eleven [...]

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Cycle Time Again

Posted on February 23, 2015 by

I delivered Western Union telegrams in Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge and Borough Park when I was 16, peddling my three-speed 26 incher through white ethnic working-class Brooklyn with a pouch filled with urgent messages. Knocking on front doors, I’d announce “Telegram!” and then listen for the lock. I would try to leave before the envelope was [...]

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Ten Ways to Survive the Republican Congress

Posted on December 24, 2014 by

Don’t let Boehner and McConnell drive you insane. Here are some random thoughts on coping with the next two years:    1) AVOID THE REPUBLICAN HATE-FEST It’s tempting to keep track of all their antics but it won’t make you feel any better   2) REDUCE YOUR DEPENDENCE ON NPR NEWS Steve Inskeep is a [...]

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Expo Fans

Posted on December 7, 2014 by

On the Expo Line Thanksgiving weekend from Culver City to Downtown, we pulled into the USC station mid-afternoon just after the Trojans trounced Notre Dame 49-14, tens of thousands of football fans pouring out of the Coliseum into Exposition Park on their way to their cars but quite a few boarding the train, creating a [...]

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Warren or Sanders?

Posted on November 23, 2014 by

I won’t be complaining about Barack Obama over the next two years.  Or spending a lot of time on what he should or shouldn’t do.  I’m certainly happy about his executive action on immigration. But I’m sure that very soon he’ll do something I won’t like. Maybe I’ll just keep that to myself.  I will [...]

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Election Reflection

Posted on November 7, 2014 by

Here are my three “takeaways” from the midterm election fiasco: 1) Warren vs. Clinton There’s a powerful impulse to conclude that compromise and concession with Republicans get us nothing so why not go big in ’16 with Elizabeth Warren. We have to be careful, however, that this isn’t some kind of “reaction formation.” In other [...]

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The Real Rob Lowe

Posted on November 1, 2014 by

You may have seen the commercials – especially if you watch pro sports – with the two Rob Lowes: The handsome, successful, cool and wealthy Rob Lowe, and his nerdy, geeky and creepy counterparts, well-played (with the help of talented makeup and wardrobe artists) by Lowe himself. These ads for Rupert Murdoch’s Direct TV are a [...]

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We Can’t Agree About Obama

Posted on October 26, 2014 by

The pounding and pummeling of Barack Obama by Republican candidates in contested U.S. Senate races is painful to watch. To cope, I’m paying no attention to individual races and I’m preparing for the worst. It’s very tempting, of course, to blame the President for this situation. He misjudged and mismanaged his opponents from the start [...]

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That’s O.K. What’s O.K.?

Posted on October 18, 2014 by

Here’s an example of how “millennials” use language differently than previous generations of Americans: I had an early evening meeting in Mid-Wilshre, L.A., had only enough time to find a meter but did’t have any change. Three or four 20-somethings were clustered near a building and – after I parked – I approached waving a [...]

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Obama’s Final Two Years

Posted on October 3, 2014 by

Remember how it felt with two years left in the Bush Administration? Pummeled by six years of Bush / Cheney / Rumsfeld, we knew a month before the 2006 election that the electorate was shifting our way and that Congress would flip to the Democrats. Speaker Pelosi and then the Presidency! But the elation passed [...]

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Trains, Bicycles and L.A. Neighborhoods

Posted on September 20, 2014 by

The region which defined “sprawl” is now moving toward “sustainable growth” with cluster development along rail line stations, restored waterfront bike paths and boutique neighborhood centers. No longer “seventy two suburbs in search of a city,” the Los Angeles metro area is maturing. In my 30-plus years in LA, I’ve watched communities become more intact. [...]

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Trust Young Americans?

Posted on September 6, 2014 by

There seems to be consensus among my peers that the world is coming apart at the seams. Events in Gaza, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Ferguson and elsewhere are shaping the impression that events are more out of control than ever. Add global warning, the Ebola virus, wealth inequality and the possible takeover by Republicans of the [...]

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Janet Yellen’s Accent

Posted on July 19, 2014 by

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is quickly mastering “fedspeak,” a language all its own, designed to explain yet obscure our nation’s monetary policy.  Each phrase uttered during congressional committee testimony is carefully crafted and articulated to avoid “spooking the markets.” But when I watch Yellen, I hear more than a report on “labor market participation” [...]

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Harris v. Quinn and the Next President

Posted on July 5, 2014 by

The Supreme Court’s latest assault on the Labor Movement – Harris vs. Quinn – shows how essential it is for Democrats to win the White House in 2016. The 5-4 decision stops unions from collecting fees from nonmembers who provide home-care services through a government agency. It seems like a narrow ruling, but it’s a [...]

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Venice Car People

Posted on June 21, 2014 by

Beach Front Walk in Venice at sunrise looks like coastal California’s refugee camp with sleeping bags, tents and cardboard covers sheltering hundreds of poor, mostly unemployed “residents,” some disturbed and deranged. Homeless on the beach in L.A. is still homeless but might be the most tolerable option.  The warmth and beachy, bohemian atmosphere make this [...]

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Back to the Future in L.A.

Posted on June 12, 2014 by

The downtown portion of  the Los Angeles River will be liberated. Plans and money are now in place to “dechannelize” the waterway and recreate a living breathing river with adjacent parks, other urban amenities and – yes – high-end residential and commercial development. Hats off to the Friends of the L.A. River for its vision [...]

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