Opinion L.A.

Observations and provocations
from The Times' Opinion staff

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About Us

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Opinion Section's new daily weblog, Opinion L.A.

Every weekday at this space you will see:
* Links to the day's Opinion Dept. produce.
* Roundups of local opinion journalism from outside sources (alternative weeklies, national political magazines, business and neighborhood weeklies, online publications, city magazines, weblogs, whatever).
Sprinkled throughout the week will be:
* Random only-in-Southern-California stuff, like excerpts from, oh, Mamie Van Doren's weblog.
* A look at people who are bashing (or praising!) this here L.A. Times; and
* So forth.

There will eventually be chances for readers to interrogate various Opinion staffers, some guest-bloggers arguing about this or that, and also a daily version made available through web feed and e-mail.... Plus some other exciting developments we'll be unveiling in the coming week or three. Not least of which is the creation of another new blog -- Borderline, that focuses 100% on immigration politics.

What's the big idea of Opinion L.A.?

There isn't one, beyond wanting to be a one-stop shop for the best in opinion journalism from and about Southern California. Also, to have a bit of fun, and provide a place for readers to debate with us, and with one another.

Who are you?

The ringmaster is Matt Welch, assistant Editorial Pages editor of the L.A. Times, and a blogger in a former life; references available upon request. Many other Opinion Page staffers will be contributing regularly.

What's your policy on comments?

Please, pretty please, and pretty please with sugar on top, use your real name.

What's that all about?

We want to build a better conversation, where people can still freely screech at each other, but without leaning on the cheap courage/crutch of anonymity. Yes, yes, anonymity can be crucial in political discourse, and the most important thing is the quality of the argument, etc. etc. But that's why God invented Blogspot, and there's nothing in our version of the Constitution that says we have a legal or moral duty to host wild-eyed calls to arms from people named "Colin Oscopy." We also might want to use some comments as Letters to the Editor, in which case we'll need much more personal info than your average blog-comment requires.

So -- use a pseudonym, and the barrier to your comment's entry will be raised significantly (basically, if we arbitrarily conclude you're talking smack that you wouldn't dare under your real name). Reveal your identity (which we will never harvest or share with other people), and the only way you'll get blocked is if you advocate violence against individuals or groups, libel someone, make grave accusations against entire categories of humans, or pass yourself off as someone you aren't. Oh yeah -- and we don't work the graveyard shift.

Huh? No comments after midnight?

Unfortunately, for the time being someone here has to approve every comment before it's published. Something to do with a controversial experiment way back when.... That said, we're being as expeditious as possible between around 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. PDT, and are constantly looking to improve our system. Your suggestions welcome, your patience appreciated.

Why don't you link to my blog?

Why don't you ask? Doesn't mean we will -- we're looking for sites from or about Southern California, updated frequently, and with some consistent level of quality.

Consistent level of quality? What about that one guy who I think is terrible and offensive?

Links are not endorsements, nor are all of them 100% PG-13, to say the least. If you are not offended by at least some of these sites, then we're probably not being thorough enough in our selection.

That's all for now; feel free to ask any and all questions in the comments ... and please keep coming back!


Comments () | Archives (21)

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George Vreeland Hill

"We the people", will no longer stand for the Republican lies, cover-ups, cheating, and more.
Even our own Governor can't tell the truth.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for office, he said that he would fund his campaign with his own money, and not accept money from outside interests.
Well, as we now know, he took MILLIONS from others while running for office.
These "other" special interest people have more interest in their pockets and their own standing, than in the interests of California.
Arnold's interests are with wealth and fame.
These "others" and Arnold go hand in hand.
I think we also need an answer from Arnold as to why he took two jobs with muscle magazines so soon after taking office.
This was at a time when California needed him the most.
After all, he said he would be there for us.
Again, it seems that Arnold is more interested in his own fame, than in your life as a Californian.
Another thing that bothers me is the fact that Arnold loves Photo-ops.
I'm sure a lot of us would like our pictures taken with name people, but Schwarzenegger goes out of his way to look good.
Even at times when he looks bad.
Most of us know that Arnold likes to make fun of people.
He seems to put his foot into his mouth a lot, and then says he is sorry and will do better.
This is getting to be a bad habit with him.
He talks tough, but does nothing.
As I said, he wants to look good.
Just like in the movies.
This is the Arnold Schwarzenegger that got him elected.
Tough talk, fame, photo-ops, and more.
In the end, it was all a lie.
George W. Bush is the same way.
Bush will get what he wants no matter what.
Bully. Under the table. Break the law. Lie.
Then come up with reasons why he is right.
Well guess what?
Bush is wrong!
You do not go to war with another country without proof of the need for war.
Iraq was no threat to the United States.
Yes, Saddam Hussein was evil and had a lot of people killed, but more Iraqi citizens have been killed since this war started, than under Saddam.
WMD? Not there!
You do not spy on Americans without legal permission.
That is KGB like.
When Laura Bush killed a man with her car, why was nothing done about it?
Did you know that George W. Bush once made fun of the issue of WMD?
He did, and in front of some shocked people.
He said.... (While pretending to look out of a window) "They are not out there."
He then turned and said....."They are not in here either, ha ha."
While he was laughing at the issue of WMD, there were men and women fighting and dying because we are at war over WMD.
George W. Bush should be removed from office because of that alone.
Face it, ....Bill Clinton lied about having sex, and was impeached because of it.
BUT......George W. Bush did far worse, as he laughed at the very people who are fighting for the United States of America!
Bush laughs at a lot of things.
He also takes a lot of vacations while we are at war.
He is even afraid of his own service record.
He does not know about service.
While we were under attack, he just sat there.
He has no clue about how to run things.
Speaking of running.......that is what many Republicans are doing right now.
Running from their own corruption.
How many are in trouble now?
From Nixon/Agnew to Scooter and Cheney, all we get from Republicans are cover-ups, lies, and more.
Even President Reagan's defense secretary, Caspar W. Weinberger, who recently passed away, was so bad, that George H. W. Bush had to bail him out with a pardon to help save the Republican name.
Face it.... the Republican Party is a disgrace.
Time for a change.
It is also time for us to take back our country from the Republican mess that YOU are paying for.
I am,
George Vreeland Hill.
Los Angeles, California
[email protected]

Janice Cavaretta

I don't know why people cannot admit the obvious,which is that President Bush is nearly destroying our country and the world. Katrina, stem-cell veto, the war in Iraq, AbuGharib, and on and on and on. Americans continue to get fatter, drive bigger cars, have no health insurance, and leave in a Darwinian state. I long for the days of President Clinton--and the Republicans, what did they do in response to Clinton--invade his private sex life. I am overwhelmed and saddened by this Presdiency.


Forgive me, everyone. This is a test to see if I can post a comment on this board and if I can maybe find it. I was hoping it would be easy to find and post here, like the NY Times' "Reader's Opinions" Message boards are. But I guess the LAT is so enamored of the "BLOG" format that it has to set up this complicated system and hide it at the very bottom of the Opinion LA section. I understood a Blog as a place where long-winded folks with too much time on their hands posted their opinions on stuff they have no knowlege of - you know, like Rush Limbaugh. I didn't think bloggers actually allowed comments on their comments to be placed on their blogs. Perhaps I'm wrong. I'll see if this post sticks. Of course, it might stick somewhere on the LAT website, but the challenge will be to figure out how to find it....

But if I do, I'll post a few other items.

Just wish you could make things easy like the NY Times does...


Well, that was interesting. I hope my comment doesn't appear as a 7-character wide, 50-line column like the preview screen did.

Once more into the breach, my friends...

Mike Havnaer

Hey, You DID print my rant! Yes, it took about 10 minutes of bouncing around this "Opinion L.A." to find it, but at least I found it. Of course, I'm a bit surprised that there haven't been any other comments here for the last three weeks. I shouldn't be, I suppose. Its just further demonstrates my complaint that it is unreasonably difficult to post a comment here. "We welcome your comments...", but you'll have to get to the 7th level of Internet Hell to post them. And when you do, it'll be in a place where no one will ever see it (except one brave webmaster).

But now some constructive comments. It would be a WHOLE lot easier if you could link to comments on INDIVIDUAL articles directly from the Opinion piece itself. The idea of commenting on an entire day's Editorials, covering the gamut from Iraq, to Sacramento, to Africa, to L.A. Schools, to Executive Hollywood, to a vacant lot in Inglewood, is a bit daunting. Only the most foolish among us has strong opinions on EVERYTHING. One Editorial - one comments list.

Keep comments posted for a week only. The NYT keeps a year of posts - up to 15,000 comments. That's stupid. (of course, in the case of Opinion LA, there are so few comments, you've got to keep them around so the newer ones don't get lonely).

Put a link to a menu for all the Opinion LA comments on the Front Page of the On-line LA Times. If you make it easy to get here, they will come.

And we will make this the best On-line Opinion page west of the Hudson.

Mike Havnaer

Hmmm...its Sunday and I don't see my Saturday post. Well, it hasn't been 24 hours, and it is the weekend. Maybe I'll see it tomorrow evening.

Which leads me to another suggestion about Opinion LA.

Why can't I post comments about an opinion piece on the day the paper is published? Waiting a day just dilutes my emotions about an article. I'm furious at Max Boot's partisan stupidity TODAY, not tomorrow. I'm impressed with Patt Morrison's insights into L.A. Life TODAY; tomorrow I just have a Mona Lisa smile. I'm diappointed at Rosa Brooks' naiveté TODAY, not tomorrow.

No wonder you have such a low response from readers. You're discouraging us from responding.

Bobbie Lynch

Has anyone heard the rumor that 8/22 is an important date to the Muslim religion and associated with Doomsday?

After I heard that on the news 8/9/06, I got the following information from a Google search:

Apocalyptic signals from Iran worry U.S. intelligence
The U.S. intelligence community has not been surprised by Iran's refusal to respond to a Western incentive package to suspend its uranium enrichment. Intelligence sources said Iran, following North Korea's model, intends to delay any response or negotiations for as long as possible. The European Union and the United States demanded that Iran reply to the Western incentive package of nuclear technology, fuel and aircraft by June 29. But Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said Teheran would submit an answer by Aug. 22.

The U.S. intelligence community has been trying to figure out why Ahmadinejad chose that date. Sources said the community was stumped until some Islam experts translated the Gregorian date to that of the Muslim calendar.

Then came the surprise that has the intelligence community worried. Aug. 22 corresponds to Rajab 27 on the Muslim calendar. The date is called Lailat Al Israa, when Mohammed ascended to heaven from the Al Aqsa mosque to receive the five daily prayers. Later, Al Aqsa came to represent Jerusalem.

The Muslim commemoration is meant to be a night of struggle, accompanied by thunder and lightening, resembling the story of Moses ascending Mount Sinai to receive the Old Testament.
Ahmadinejad could be hinting to the West that he is preparing a major attack on Israel. Or, the Iranian president could be warning that unless the West caves in, he would escalate tension in the region. The lightening in Mohammed's story could represent Iranian missiles.

What is clear is that Ahmadinejad does not see himself as an Iranian leader, but a Muslim prophet, using imagery to portray himself as a messiah for both Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims.
Posted by Epaminondas on July 7, 2006 12:18 PM | Permalink


Then I woke up Thursday morning (8/10) to the news of the thwarted terrorist plot in London to bomb ten planes enroute to the U.S. Thank God for all blessings.

Could this have been planned for 8/22/06? Or what if Iran already has nuclear weapons and plans to send one off that day?

Mike Havnaer

All ya have to do is Google it.

Seems like 8/22, or Rajab 27 if you will, is the Muslim version of Easter. The Prophet's death and rebirth. I suppose we could color some eggs.

The rumor started from a Wall Street Journal opinion piece by Bernard Lewis, a Princeton emeritus Professor who's written a few books on Islam.
Quite irresponsible for both a Princeton Professor and the WSJ, IMHO. In effect, it reads that 8/22 sounds similar to 9/11 and this year it corresponds to Muslim Easter, and IF Ahmadinejad had a nuclear weapon it would be a convenient day to use it. Against Israel, that is.

Lewis goes on to opine that Ahmadinejad most likely wouldn't be deterred by the prospect of 10,000 nuclear warheads raining down on his country, obliterating even the memory of Persian culture (not to mention every single Persian).

It seems to generate more heat than light. Iran doesn't have a nuclear warhead, and if it did, it doesn't have a missile capable of reaching the U.S. (though it can reach Israel and as far as Italy). And its Al Qaeda that plays the date game, not Iran. Ahmadinejad may be taunting us with his bluster, and he might even hope for a conventional ground invasion of Iran by U.S. Forces in Iraq. As we just saw in Lebanon, its a lot harder to invade a country than to repel an invader (and I wouldn't put it past GWB to take Ahmadinejad on, either.)

But risk an eye-blink annihilation of his country with a 9/11-style terrorist attack? He may be crazy, but he's not stupid.

Mike Havnaer

Hey! Somebody's listening! We've got today's editorials on Opinion L.A. today! Kewl!

Thanks sooooooo much. You've just inflated my ego to about 6 times its normal size.



Bobbie Lynch

Did I understand you right, Mike Havnaer? Was there an opinion about this in the LA Times? I searched online but couldn't fine it.

Marilyn Later Bozentka

I have just wanted to say for the longest time now that since The Tribune homogenized the "opinion" and letters pages in the daily paper, and got rid of editorialists with actual opinions, those pages are like pablum. I can barely begin to scan what used to be a provocative opinion section before I nod off. The only reason we still get the Times is so my husband and kids have access to the entertainment and sports pages.

Even if the Tribune finally sells the LA Times, I don't know if you will ever get Robert Scheer to come back after what you did to him. You are pushing your readership to the NY Times and HuffingtonPost. Only by selling the paper back to local owners will there be any chance of recovering our loyalty again.


LA Times bemoans loss of readers. It’s one of the best papers in the USA, but it would be better with greater attention to details on local issues.

For example, the 405 Freeway is being widen between the Sepulveda Pass and LAX. Entrances and exits are being moved. How are the routes being changed? Is the work on schedule? What can we expect when? I'm sure that the multitude of people that get stuck in the associated traffic jam each and every day would be interested in learning about how much longer they are going to feel the pain.

Also, you could possibly address the question of why there seems to be a lack of temporary measures to facilitate getting from the ocean side of the 405 to the mountain side of the 405 during the morning rush hour? Restricting some left turn lanes (west bound National Blvd to 405 So. for example), could significantly reduce the morning grid lock on Nation Blvd. at Sawtelle.

Somewhat off topic, but related, are questions about steps to smooth traffic flow. What is blocking the elimination of ALL parking on Lincoln boulevard and Centinella/Bundy during rush hour? What political forces would have to be overcome to make Olympic and Pico Boulevards one way?

Gary St.Clair

In Harry Chandler's contribution on what to do with the Tribune and LAT, he opines that we can get our national or international news from one of the cable news channels or on the internet. Well, they offer no in-depth analyses on either front, and searching for clear and balanced analysis on the internet proves even more elusive. Yes, the Times should do a better job on local coverage, but I do not want to be reading a glorified Hillsboro (Oregon) Argus. I want the Times to be a great national paper. Otherwise, I can read the Daily News or some such rag.

Erin Hulbert

Peace is Victory

After World War II, our victory was displayed with two fingers held high in a V formation declaring victory for many nations. These same fingers later became the declaration of peace for many nations. They would become one in the same. Peace has become victory. It is bloodshed that has become defeat.

One of our greatest gifts as a nation is our ability for compromise. It is the foundation in which our government stands.

Let us be a nation which does not yell in the faces of others to "Do as I say, not as I do." But let us stand together and proudly declare, to "Watch and learn." To let other nations follow in our footsteps, not by force but by admiration.

Let us find our way back to the gravel roads of compassion, humanity, and understanding. To uphold the needs of the people, not the careers of a legislation.
Let us remember that it is our differences which give us strength.
That our power is in the voice of our vote, for if nothing is spoken, nothing is heard.
Let us break the barriers which bind us from the happiness in which we so faithfully persue.

Let us remember the past.
For we must know where we have been to know where we should be going.
Let us remember our leaders.
Let us make them proud.
Proud to know that their efforts were upheld and even improved upon.

For we are the proof of brotherhood. The proof that one voice can become a choir of transformation.

For if a single man can write a Declaration of Independance, a nation can surely uphold it.

Al Weeks

My "Buffy" letter to the ciontraruy, Which is now posted on the Web
as a blog. We'll see if it stirs any reaction. Of which
I got really none of any importance from my e-mailers.


Freeland for corrispondent, grazie


Freeland for corrispondent, grazie

Ernesto Caravantes

The Hispanic drop out rate from high school is the highest among ANY ethnic group in the United States. With the Latino population now being the largest ethnic group in the country, we are truly facing a crisis in education. I am the author of a controversial book which finally explains why Latinos are dropping out of high school in such high numbers. The title of my new book is: “Clipping Their Own Wings.”

The book dares to say what no one else has dared to say about the Latino culture: Hispanics are lagging behind as a result of ignorantly and stubbornly adhering to a culture that does not promote education. Latinos, who by now are the largest ethnic population in America, are never going to catch up if they don't shape up with regard to education. Hispanics are clipping their own wings by refusing to assimilate into the American educational system.

The lazy and backward Hispanic culture’s lack of encouragement for education in its students is the heart of the matter. This book is putting the blame squarely on a culture that has not placed education at the top of its values hierarchy. Clearly, the Latino culture has been placing other matters ahead of education. This is why unless the culture itself changes, nothing will really make a dent in the problem.

Every taxpaying citizen should read my book. The problem extends to every taxpaying citizen. If these Latino dropouts never return to school, or if the girls end up pregnant and the boys become truants, then all of society suffers. They end up dependent on welfare and others forms of public assistance. You and I as taxpayers are ultimately supporting these lazy and ignorant washouts. Do you really want this continue? Trust me, if the message in my book is not disseminated far and wide, it will.

I urge you to consider the subject matter in my book. This book, in the hands of the right people in both educational and legislative circles, can make a major contribution to calling attention to the real and ignored problem of educational complacency and apathy in a culture which clearly doesn’t understand that education is the key to a brighter future.


Bis - Crediti a tassi variabili:: non rileva la crescita dei tassi per la solvibilita dei mutui' insoluti, sia pure non assistiti da garanzia ipotecaria ma pur sempre da quella generale; la trasformazione in prodotti finanziari travasati nei fondi alleggerisce sia le perdite per ridotte restituzioni sia il calo delle quotazioni: delle azioni bancarie: ritorni|| a somma zero


Bis - Crediti a tassi variabili:: non rileva la crescita dei tassi per la solvibilita dei mutui' insoluti, sia pure non assistiti da garanzia ipotecaria ma pur sempre da quella generale; la trasformazione in prodotti finanziari travasati nei fondi alleggerisce sia le perdite per ridotte restituzioni sia il calo delle quotazioni: delle azioni bancarie: ritorni|| a somma zero


It's amazing to me that so many seem surprised at the remarks Rev. Jeremiah Wright made. Although I feel the pulpit should not be used to spew your anger at the injustices in this world but instead should be used primarily for the promoting of the gospel. But to deny that racism and prejudices don't still exist would be like putting your head in the sand.
As I listen to all the talk on radio and TV surrounding Barack Obamas and the endorsements he has received of people we as a society look upon as fanatical and unacceptable. ( Some of which he has rejected.) I have to rely on my own faith and intuition to get past all the rhetoric.
I grew up in a house in which my father was a racist so it was something that I heard often the anger, hatred and fear directed toward other races. My personal experience did not lead me to be influenced by such rantings but instead to find out why my father felt that way. Looking back in history and his life stories I could understand his perspective but that was not the case for me even though I too had experienced racism directed toward me. l chose to embraced getting to know people of other races as individuals based on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin or religious beliefs I also promote these values in my children. Did I disown my father? Of course not. That was something he would have to deal with and eventually overcome with the help of GOD. Instead I would introduce my friends and love interests of different races to him openly.
I picture Christ as a child sitting in the synagogues learning the teachings of the Torah from the priests and scribes. The same ones who also taught not to deal with Samaritans and to stick with your own. But Jesus instead when he became a man did not adhere to all that he had been taught. The prejudices and traditions. Instead he only allowed that which was good and right to be a part of his ministry and life He rebuked them for their hyprocrisy toward what was truly the will of GOD.
And that was to love one another.
To me Reverend Jeremiah Wright is a lot like my father and Obama looks up to him like the father he never had.
Like Obama said in his speech Reverend Wright led him to the Lord but that doesn't mean that he has to agree with everything the man has to say. I believe Obama listened to Reverend Wrights sermons and chose to let into his heart and spirit only that which was good and right and left the rest for the Reverend Wright to deal with and overcome with the help of GOD. After all isn't it our responsibility to listen and choose what we will accept and what we won't. We do it everyday. And truth be told we all have a relative or close friend we tell everyone to "just don't mind to them they get that way sometimes". So what makes Obama Barack any different from all of us.
By the way I'm not an Obama Barack supporter. I'm still considering my choices. But I felt something should be said in his behalf.



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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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