Five Years a Blogger

Posted on May 10, 2014 by

I knew – when I began posting in May, 2009 – I was making a long-term commitment.  Along the way, friends would ask about starting their own blog, and I’d usually give the same advice: do it regularly; it doesn’t have to be everyday; but there has to be some consistency. Many bloggers get restless, [...]

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Can the Cops Take Your Cell Phone?

Posted on May 3, 2014 by

Addicted to cells and tablets, Americans are submitting to data-mining corporations revving up for their internet takeover and law enforcement agencies eager for evidence. Just this week, as the FCC looks to retreat on net neutrality, the Supreme Court hears why cops should be able to seize your cell phone when you’re stopped in your [...]

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Power Shifts for L.A. “Supes”

Posted on April 26, 2014 by

I would learn that L.A. was one of more than 80 cities in the County of  Los Angeles, a county covering 4,000 square miles with more people than 43 states.  Two thirds of the land, I would discover, are in what’s called “unincorporated” areas out of which seven new cities – Westlake Village, Agoura Hills, [...]

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You’re Fired!

Posted on April 19, 2014 by

“You’re Fired!” The Boss has spoken and, for most American workers, that’s the end of the story.  Proving race-based discrimination – or other forms of bias depending on what state you’re in – could get your job back but that’s not easy and takes a long time. Without an individual contract, civil service or union [...]

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The Biggest Mistakes of my Life?

Posted on March 29, 2014 by

Solo Accordion I started playing the accordion when I was 11 and was very good at it.  We couldn’t afford a piano and there wasn’t enough room for one in our apartment in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn.  It was my mothers’ idea but I always felt that the accordion was a dumb instrument with a clownish sound. [...]

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Writing on the Train

Posted on March 17, 2014 by

More than thirty years ago, Amtrak paid for my train fare and sleeper in return for a travel story. This week, the rail passenger service rolls out a promotion which will select 24 writers for an “Amtrak Residency.”   A December New Yorker story about writing on trains created a social media buzz which Amtrak has [...]

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Begging the Bosses

Posted on March 7, 2014 by

In promoting his plan to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, President Obama hits the right notes: Working full-time shouldn’t mean living in poverty A higher minimum wage pumps money into the economy, stimulates consumption and lifts the overall standard of living For companies, paying employees more is the right thing to [...]

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Internet Withdrawal

Posted on March 2, 2014 by

Customers waiting in line at the bank or post office pass the time these days tickling their smart-phones.  A good way, I suppose, to cope with impatience, prevent anxiety and feel productive.  There’s probably less “small talk” – chitchat among strangers – than there used to be.  And maybe that’s too bad. When I’m stuck [...]

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Tom Bradley’s Los Angeles

Posted on February 15, 2014 by

With its dominant anti-union business class, racist and brutal police force and bigoted and provincial mayor, Los Angeles was a backwater city through the early 1970s. Its transition to a world-class, cosmopolitan, diverse and liberal metropolitan region began 40 years ago with the election of Tom Bradley, an African-American former LAPD officer who built an [...]

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Tea Party Populists

Posted on February 6, 2014 by

End corporate welfare.  Oppose candidates in the pocket of big business.  Don’t let the U.S. Chamber of Commerce tell you how to vote. Sounds like a message from the American Left. But look again.  It’s the radical populist wing of the tea party. Watch – if you can – this talk by tea party honcho [...]

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Oh Henry!

Posted on February 1, 2014 by

What Henry Waxman figured out Was how to have a lot of clout Raising funds from Westside Jews The question was how best to use A seat in Congress all his own Though many there were better known He understood right off the bat How influence took more than that With friend and colleague Howard [...]

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Expo Dreams

Posted on January 25, 2014 by

A few blocks northeast of the last stop of the Expo Line in Santa Monica is the bustling Broadway corridor: clusters of new apartment houses which conform to the “pedestrian-friendly” template in this progressive, coastal city. Where street-level restaurants, retail shops and professional offices create an atmosphere of neighborhood activity and “human-scale” commerce. Walk there [...]

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Our Side, Their Side

Posted on January 19, 2014 by

Chris Christie may be a scoundrel but he’s a talented and appealing politician who could have won national office.  So naturally I’m relieved that he’s enmeshed in a colossal scandal. For a day or two I could watch the wall-to-wall MSNBC coverage with new details exposed in each segment and interviews with the key players [...]

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Northridge Earthquake Anniversary

Posted on December 31, 2013 by

“Northridge 20” – a UCLA symposium marking the 20th anniversary of the January 17, 1994 earthquake – will draw experts from the Structural Engineers Association of  Southern California, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Western States Seismic Policy Council, the California Earthquake Authority, the Los Angeles Tall Building Structural Design Council, and more. Expect detailed [...]

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Ten Headlines I Would Like to See in 2014

Posted on December 18, 2013 by

At the risk of seeming ridiculously naïve (but just for fun), I again offer my new-year wish-list… 1) Francis Tackles Big Business             Pope Blames Corporations for World-Wide Wealth Gap   2) Gay Rights Goes South             Red States Ready for Marriage Equality   3) Middle East Peace             Common Ground for Israelis and Palestinians [...]

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Clinton vs. Warren?

Posted on November 28, 2013 by

I prefer Elizabeth Warren to Hillary Clinton but I’m not willing to risk the election on a Warren candidacy. In the primaries, Clinton will try to convince democrats that she has a lock on the electoral map and, as president, will use her political skills and guile to beat up republicans.  Implicit in her message [...]

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